To you all who have dismissed the present government as clueless, and have renamed the political movement that brought “freedom and salvation” to South Africa; “cANCer”, the ANC led government is set to prove you all wrong come June 2016. Somehow, they were inspired on how best to battle unemployment and the idea is great!
Reporting this development, City Press related “come June next year, young people could find themselves forced to become part of a youth military program as government tries new ways to contain spiraling unemployment.” And if you think June 2016 is a long time to wait, be comforted. The period will enable the presidency’s national steering committee take care of any flaw(s) the program might encounter for “marathon meetings amid pressure” are being held to finalize details of the youth service program that will empower the government send young people from the age of 18 to the army for military training.
Irrespective of opposing views proffering other workable solutions to the unemployment problem, thereby rebuking the idea of a compulsory mandate on South African youths to join the army as part of national service requirements just to combat unemployment, the ANC-led alliance requested a quick implementation of an improved National Youth Service program (NYS) that will incorporate South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and other government parastatals insisting that an expanded youth service will benefit millions of young unemployed South Africans.
Addressing City Press on this issue, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said “we moved away from conscription too soon. Naturally, we would actually say that every youth person may serve an X number of years or months in the army to be trained because the army is the most equipped structure that could deal with young people in a structured way…Actually, the best engineering capacity in the country is in the army. So that’s what we should be thinking about…the country must do what it needs to do for the country to work.”
How The Program Will Run
Dr Bernice Hlagala, the director of youth development revealed that the draft framework of the program ruled out compulsory military training which could still be changed if the program gets to the Cabinet for a final decision. Hlagala however stressed that “the primary aim of the NYS is not military. There are many aspects to it, like encouraging youth to volunteer at old-age homes or government departments and acquire skills in the process.”
A similar program initiated by the department of rural development according to news24, “successfully implemented its youth service plan, the National Rural Youth Service Corps (Narysec), in partnership with the SANDF to train youth between the ages of 18 and 35”. It further narrated that “army generals are tasked with whipping young people into shape before they enroll in Further Education and Training colleges”.
Meanwhile, just as ANC believes the military training will instill discipline, make our youths patriotic and ultimately solve social problems peculiar among youths like gangsterism, alcohol and drug abuse, Hlagala was optimistic about some participants emerging as professionals like doctors, pilots and engineers, while others would take on technical and artisan jobs.
What DA Thinks
As expected, the Democratic Alliance (DA) as the major opposition party in South Africa, will oppose this “great idea” According to reports, DA thinks that “such a policy is a clear example of goal displacement. The purpose of the military is to defend our borders, not to attempt to create jobs…Looking to the military in an attempt to fix our country’s youth unemployment crisis is a resounding admission by the ANC government that its economic policies simply cannot create real employment for the millions of young South Africans who find themselves unemployed” said Phumzile van Damme, deputy shadow minister in the Presidency.
DA however suggested alternative to the unemployment problem which include:
- “Establishing Job Zones near ports and airports, and in rural areas, to attract investment into industries that employ many people;
- Upscaling the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to provide temporary relief from unemployment and much-needed skills development as the DA has done successfully in the City of Cape Town;
- Creating a national government internship program based on the successful model used in the Western Cape; and
- Introducing a real Youth Wage Subsidy to address high levels of youth unemployment. Government’s current intervention, the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), has failed to provide young South Africans with job opportunities they need; instead, it has benefited middlemen and big employers”.
Your opinion of the better way to fight unemployment doesn’t matter for when all is said and done, ANC will go ahead with this “great idea”. Army conscription will return in South Africa regardless of it going against the essence of the constitution and democracy. Yes, army conscription will return and whip our youths to employment.