Africa Eye on poverty Women Youth Phatuwana Mphake  

“Poverty in South Africa” by Phatuwani Mphaki

Story and the images are by Phatuwani Mphaki.

Photo of Ivory Park in Gauteng Province by Phatuwani Mphaki

Youth poverty is a huge problem in South Africa. Here are my thoughts on this matter. The labour market is effectively split into two extremes job types.

At the one extreme is a small number of people with highly paid jobs, and at the other extreme is most of the population who work in jobs that are often informal and pay less.

No democracy can survive and flourish if the masses of our people remain in poverty, without land and without tangible prospects for a better life.

Attacking poverty and deprivation must be the first priority of a democratic government. 

This process involves various mechanisms such as increasing employment, increasing peoples’ incomes, productivity, social protection and quality public services.

The measure of success of a government’s development policies is when the lives and opportunities of the poorest South Africans are transformed for the better.

In South Africa the social wage is used as a redistributive mechanism to improve the lives of the poor.

This goal has partially been achieved through, among other strategies, free primary health care , no fee paying schools, old age and child support grants, housing and free basic services such as water and electricity.

Still, the youth in South Africa are suffering when compared with the lifestyles of the elite and politicians.

Photo of Ivory Park in Gauteng Province by Phatuwani Mphaki

Most households are under single mothers’ wings. It is painful to see women struggling to support their families due to the greediness of those who are sitting on top.

They don’t care about poor people.

We are living in a county where poor people are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.

Youth unemployment is high and is constantly around 50 percent.

High unemployment remains the key challenge for South Africa while the country struggles to generate sufficient jobs.

Racial and gender disparities are still predominant in the South African labour market. This is because of the legacy of apartheid.

Race still determines the ability of the youth in South Africa to find a job as well as the wages received once employed in 2021.