An exploration of the youth unemployment challenge within the Umgungundlovu District Municipality.
Dlamini, Zamaswazi Faith Sindisiwe.
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The continual rise in the youth unemployment rate has had a damaging impact on the socioeconomic stabilities of many nations across the world. In this regard, the ANC led government of South Africa grapples with high rates of youth unemployment as one of the most pressing challenges facing their administration. This is evident in recent labour report from Statistics South Africa (2019), which stated that the country has the highest youth unemployment rate (54.7 percent) of persons aged 15–24, compared to other nations. On this backdrop, this study explored the youth unemployment challenge within five local municipalities in uMgungundlovu District Municipality of KwaZulu Natal, which are: Msunduzi, uMshwathi, uMngeni, Mpofana and Mkhambathini. The objectives of the study were to understand the barriers preventing young people from finding employment within the District Municipality; evaluate the level of skills, experience and competencies of unemployed youths within the District Municipality; investigate the types of implemented programs geared towards addressing youth unemployment; understand partnership strategies available amongst stakeholders in ensuring that employment opportunities are availed to youths and; understand the lessons that can be learnt from the successes and failures of youth employment initiatives in the District Municipality. These objectives were achieved by adopting a qualitative methodological approach using non-probability purposive and snowballing sampling procedures to select a total sample size of thirty subjects from the target population consisting of five local municipalities mentioned above. A thematic content analysis of acquired data using NVivo software revealed that the barriers to youth employment are; lack of required skills and qualifications, labour market rigidities, lack of industries in rural communities, lack of career guidance, low budget allocation to rural municipalities, high population growth and poverty in rural communities and corruption within government departments. The research findings revealed that youth unemployment challenge can be addressed through a multipronged strategy which includes all relevant stakeholders.