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South Africa Needs Jobs for Six Million, Labor Leader Says

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Six million South Africans want to work but can't find jobs. Most of them are young Black women without education and skills, said Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the major labor group Cosatu, speaking at the University of Johannesburg.

"They face a lifetime of poverty. This is what I have called a ticking bomb," Vavi said. Thousands of South Africans, he added, are "living in slum shacks, collecting water from taps in the street, even having to use bucket toilets".

A radical program was needed, he said, to get young people working. Such a program was the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, an anti-poverty initiative in India, which gives every rural household the right to 100 days of employment (manual labor) a year at a minimum wage.

With more than 55-million participants, it is one of the largest jobs program in history and has provided more than two billion person-days of work, 48% of which have gone to women.

"South Africa has been slower off the block. Yes, there have been similar schemes ... but much more needs to be done to give our young people hope for a better future," the labor leader declared.

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