- South Africans were left fuming when claims surfaced that the Youth Employment Service excluded white citizens from its registration process
- While the initiative is aimed at empowering non-white South Africans, citizens have lashed out that the initiative does not provide an alternative for those who do not qualify
- In a statement, the organisation said: "The YES movement is bigger than race"
The YES (Youth Employment Service) 4 Youth initiative is embroiled in controversy over its registration process that allegedly excludes white South Africans.
The government partnered youth employment initiative is a job creation programme. It involves a partnership between government and labour. It hopes to combat the country's rising unemployment rate.
The project was hailed when it was first initiated, but now, it has received backlash among citizens, especially among white South Africans.
According to The South African, the project plans to provide job opportunities for young citizens between the ages of 18 and 35. The end goal is to gear the youth up with better CVs, a state-endorsed reference, as well experience in the digital field.
Earlier this year, Cyril Ramaphosa, the president, praised the project's commitment to job creation at the launch.
At the time, Ramaphosa said:
"We need effective and sustainable programmes to prepare young people for first-time employment. This demonstrates that we are a country on the move. We will be coming up with further initiatives to address youth unemployment.”
To date, the initiative has partnered with 153 companies in the country.
Does the YES project exclude whites?
YES 4 Youth is committed to B-BBEE policies.
On the website, YES 4 Youth writes:
“YES is a business-driven initiative which is breaking new ground by pioneering a partnership with government and labour, in collectively tackling a national plan to build economic pathways for black youth.
"Please note we are currently only registering candidates between the ages of 18 and 34, who are currently unemployed and must be black (as per the B-BBEE codes definition).”
Registration causes controversy
Briefly.co.za learned that while the project states it is creating job opportunities for non-white South Africans, it does not give job-seekers, who do not qualify, an alternative platform to apply elsewhere.
The registration criteria states that an applicant needs to be:
1. Black, in accordance with the BEE definition,
2. Between the ages of 18 – 34 (as this is the definition of youth),
3. A South African citizen,
YES 4 Youth speaks up
The organisation has released a statement after claims of reverse-racism.
It said in the statement that the initiative aligns with government aims to 'redress the skewed economic realities as outlined by the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice.'
According to the statement, companies that take part in the project can scroe B-BBEE points on their scorecard, but in order to give points, the initiative has to sticl to the B-BBEE codes. The codes state B-BBEE is intended for mixed-race, Indian and black citizens of South Africa.
"We have updated our registration process to provide an avenue for job-seeking white youth to create a profile (through our partner organisations) and be connected with such opportunities.
"The YES movement is bigger than race. It’s about every South African with resources choosing to do what they can to reshape the economic future of our country.”
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