The unemployment rate in South Africa has been a problem for some time. It has reached 30.8% in the third quarter of this year, and there have been calls for interventions to be made.
Youth Employment Services CEO, Tashmia Ismail-Savill said youth unemployment has been an issue even before Covid-19.
"Whilst Covid has made a bad situation much worse, this has been an ongoing problem in our country and it's linked to not one, but multiple factors...We've got structural inequalities, we have an education system that isn't preparing young people for entrepeneurial routes,"
As a result, young people in South Africa are less likely to enter the small business market compared to young people in other countries.
This means they lose out on valuable skills that they should be learning before entering the job market.
The long-term effects are devastating, not only for South Africa's economy but for the youth that will most likely face lifelong unemployment according to Ismail-Savill.
She believes that policy changes will be one of the most effective ways to curb youth unemployment.
"What if we created some kind of policy system that enabled small businesses to hire and let people go as their business cycles improved or decreased. Just a small set of policies around ease of doing business, helping them register quickly, helping them get finance quickly,"
Ismail-Savill said grad unemployment is relatively low in South Africa, as graduates eventually find employment.
This is not the case for young people who don't have a qualification.
More than 50% of young people who go into the labour force each year don't have a matric certificate. This percentage of the youth population has been most affected by Covid-19, as they worked in jobs that required them to make contact with people on a daily basis.
They most likely didn't receive salaries during the lockdown because many of their jobs stopped operating.
Creating a change in policy will give more opportunities to these young people.