It marked a 1.4% increase from the first quarter of the year and is the highest the unemployment rate has been since 2008, StatsSA Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said in Pretoria.
The highest ever unemployment rate of 29.3% was reached in March 2003.
In the second quarter, the number of employed people increased to 16.3 million while that of the jobless climbed by 455 000 to 6.7 million.
Employment increased in two of the four sectors, with the informal sector recording the largest gain of 114 000 followed by agriculture with 5 000.
The formal sector and private households declined by 49 000 each.
Maluleke said there were now 3.3 million people in the age group of between 15 and 24 years who were “not in employment, education or training”, termed NEET.
In the age bracket of 15 to 34 years, which account for 20.4 million of the country’s people, 8.2 million, or 40.3%, now fell into this category.
Unemployment among young people is at more than double the rate than among those in the 45- to-54-year-old bracket, where it now stands at 17.2%.
The North West province had the highest rate of people who were neither studying nor working with 45.9%. It increased in all provinces, except KwaZulu-Natal.African News Agency