The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State is aggrieved that high unemployment levels among Free State youth continue to be used as political fodder by a failing ANC government. In the latest incident, a misleading promise of internships by the FS MEC for Education has left the youth high and dry.
During a sitting of the Free State Legislature, held at the 4th Raadzaal in Bloemfontein on the 17th of July 2019, the MEC of Education, Tate Makgoe, made a promise to ensure that each graduate in the Free State will at least, be afforded an internship. These are the words said by the MEC:
“But I wanted to commit if possible, Chairperson of the ANC, that the province of the Free State must take a decision today and say that every child who graduates, who is from the Free State, we will ensure that they are at least given an internship.”
These words, which have been quoted verbatim from the transcript of the Legislature’s Hansard, were uttered by the MEC for Education in response to the high levels of unemployment amongst young people in the Free State.
Following this sitting, the DA in the Free State Legislature wrote questions to the MEC for Education, requesting a detailed response on how he planned to give effect to his pledge and how much progress has been made thus far by the Department of Education in making this pledge a reality. The MEC for Education subsequently responded with an absolute denial of this promise and stated that, “I have stated that I wish that every graduate of Free State to get an internship. It is also a wish of the ANC Provincial Government to assist all graduates in partnership with private sector to at least get an internship for all graduates”.
It is evident, that the MEC for Education abused his position to sell young people dreams in hope of scoring cheap political points. Young people are tired of empty promises. The youth of the Free State should and will not make light of the MEC’s pledge as youth unemployment has reached critical levels in the Province resulting in a growing number of graduates who fall victim to the “jobless graduate” statistics each year.
Studies have demonstrated that 65% of young people under the age of 25 living in the Free State are unemployed and government has done little to rectify this fracture in the economy.
The DA in the Free State Legislature believes that government must to provide the youth with an enabling economic environment and fair opportunities through a sound education that will enable them to find meaningful employment and improve the quality of their lives. Moreover, we urge the youth and all Free State graduates, to continue to contact the office of the MEC to secure their promised escape from poverty and unemployment through the following channels:
Telephone: 051 404 8411 / 051 404 8410 / 051 404 8430
Address: Fidel Castro Building, 55 Elizabeth Street, Floor 16, Bloemfontein, 9300.
The DA remains committed to promoting an open opportunity society for all and will hold the MEC accountable to his promise in the Legislature, especially during these testing times.