The time bomb South Africa is sitting on is youth unemployment: around six in 10 young people don’t have jobs and that makes them angry – and dangerous.
Yet, despite the seriousness of the problem, most of what citizens hear about it is simply hot air. Former president Jacob Zuma’s promise of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs was as hollow as his trademark laugh.
So it is heartening to see the first green shoots of possibility springing up in Tembisa on the East Rand, where a combination of government investment, support from the World Bank and local businesses has already given work to 2 000 young people.
The Youth Employment Service hub in the township will be a blueprint for others across the province and, hopefully, the country.
The idea is to identify the talent and ability within young people and give them the necessary training to make them employable.
Companies are then asked to help place and mentor the youngsters, with the goal of either keeping them in employment or equipping them with experience to go out on their own and start small businesses.
It’s a praiseworthy initiative and points the way to a more hopeful future.