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Ramaphosa: We must make SA work for young people, so they can work for SA

President Cyril Ramaphosa focused much of his State of the Nation Address on youth unemployment, saying it was the biggest problem the country faced.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the State of the Nation Address on 13 February 2020. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night announced that the government would build nine new TVET colleges in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and a new university for science and innovation in Ekurhuleni.

Ramaphosa focused much of his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on youth unemployment, saying it was the biggest problem the country faced.

R64bn for accommodation - Ramaphosa's Sona 2020 promise for homeless students

Of the 1.2 million young people who entered the labour market each year, about two-thirds failed to get jobs or education or training, while more than 50% of the country’s youth were unemployed. Ramaphosa outlined steps to reduce youth unemployment over the next five years.

This included forcing government departments to set aside 1% of their budgets for youth employment and training initiatives.

“Youth unemployment is the biggest problem that we face – and I, therefore, want us, through a top-slicing from the budget, which will require that we all tighten our belts and redirect resources to address the national crisis of youth unemployment,” Ramaphosa said.

“We need to make this country work for young people so that they can work for our country,” he added.

IN FULL: President Ramaphosa’s 2020 Sona

The president said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni would give more details on this but only in his next Medium Term Budget Policy Statement later this year.

Ramaphosa said the government was set to spend R64 billion in the coming years on student accommodation and would leverage at least another R64 billion in private investment.

“These building projects are ready to start,” he said.

WATCH: What you need to know about Ramaphosa's Sona 2020