The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela, will host representatives from government and business on Thursday, 29 July as part of a drive to find practical solutions to increasing unemployment among the youth in South Africa.


The Deputy Minister will be joined by panellists including Waseem Carrim, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Development Agency, Sandile Zungu, President of the Black Business Council, Lindiwe Matlali, CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, and Rudi Dicks, Head of the Project Management Office in the Private Office of the President.


The country's unemployment rate continues to be a major concern for the government. The official unemployment rate increased from 32,5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 32,6% in the first quarter of 2021 – a record since the Quarterly Labour Force Survey was launched in 2008, according to Statistics South Africa. The rate under the expanded definition, which includes those who have given up on the hunt for a job, is now 43,2%.


The official unemployment rate among youth (15-34 years) was 46,3% in the first quarter of 2021. The figures imply that almost one in every two young people in the labour force did not have a job in the first quarter of 2021. About a quarter (24,4%) of the youth have jobs and 45,3% of them participate in the labour market. Among the youth, those aged 15-24 years are more vulnerable, with an unemployment rate of over 63%, an absorption rate of about 7,6% and a labour force participation rate of 20,6%. The graduate unemployment rate was 40,3% for those aged 15-24 and 15,5% among those aged 25-34, while the rate among adult graduates (35-64) was 5,4%.


Former Statistician-General, Dr Pali Lehohla, is also expected to address the session.


The event will be co-hosted by the Services Sector Education Training Authority (Services SETA), and is expected to feature a robust exchange of views, with the diverse group of panellists sharing their insights into the various discussion areas and considering practical solutions.


The BackChat sessions, an initiative of the Deputy Minister, aim to provide a platform for unmediated conversations between university scholars, writers, activists, policy makers, academics, students, business leaders and the government. The intention is to raise awareness and encourage robust conversation among participants, and to give them an opportunity for their voices to be heard.



Date:       29 July 2021

Time:       17:30 to 19:30

Venue:   Virtual – MS Teams


To attend, please register using the following link:,S3YZQqY-hke2lbESpBw-Dw,WAJc6ER9W0eRovb18F35iA,kn6BDigtR0CH9dzC7apB3w,IaOpH7SWfEKWADPMmaQAmg,ltrUaCXeVUKzHHf5wCz6Xw?mode=read&tenantId=e6cf5c66-c2fc-4ed2-90ee-23ae191f6885&skipauthstrap=1


Issued by the Department of Science and Innovation


For more information, contact Mandla Tshabalala (Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation) at 084 304 6239.