I let out a loud gasp recently when I read that more than eight million young South Africans are unemployed.
Not just that, aged 18 to 34, they are not in any form of education or training either.
It was like a gut punch, especially since a few days earlier I had been browsing through our newly released critical skills list, aimed at attracting foreigners to live and work here.
The list is released by government, to make it easier for certain professionals to apply for visas.
But it also means that we get the skills that we actually need – you know, people who will actually contribute to our knowledge-base and GDP.
Most countries have these, so it’s not especially strange.
But what annoys me more than just a little, is how many of the critical skills are careers that over the years, we could’ve very easily trained South Africans for.
Our needs range from manufacturing quality controllers and carpenters, to joiners, diesel mechanics, property managers, web developers, accountants, auditors, digital artists and a variety of engineers.
I’m leaving out the careers for which complicated higher education is needed.
These are all jobs that – with very little training – we are all very capable of doing.
I am baffled by why they appear on our critical skills list, to the point where we are asking foreigners to consider applying for these jobs.
And, no, I don’t have a problem with foreigners, but I do have a problem with so many of my fellow countrymen going hungry and having no daily purpose.
The question now is why are our young people not studying these fields, and why is government not incentivising them to do so?
It comes back to my ongoing gripe with education systems and how it is in the interest of politics to maintain the unequal status quo and dumb down the electorate as much as possible.
Because smart citizens will think critically and not vote for politicians who manipulate, divide and loot.
And while we spend our days fighting for survival and basic needs, we absent-mindedly continue to vote for them; politicians who enrich themselves as tenderpreneurs, getting paid millions for services that were never delivered, or delivered poorly.
And are now fashioning themselves as champions of the poor, promising economic freedom.
Here was a missed opportunity to guarantee economic freedom.
There is no need for our youth to be unemployed in these shameful numbers that keep on climbing.
With the most basic of foresight, this is something that is easily fixable.
Not doing so is a simple matter of political unwillingness resulting in social sabotage.