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Solidarity calls out racist employment initiative

Solidarity Youth will commence legal action against the youth unemployment programme, Yes4Youth, that excludes unemployed white people on the grounds of race.

Paul Maritz, the coordinator of Solidarity Youth highlights that Yes4Youth is telling young white unemployed persons like those in Danville, Pretoria, that they do not deserve help and that they are privileged, while their black neighbour or even the son or daughter of a wealthy black Sandton businessman apparently needs a kick-start.

“It is astonishing that government and the companies that associate themselves with the programme believe it is acceptable to discriminate against the poor in society, simply because the colour of their skin is not right,” adds Maritz.

Solidarity Youth announced that it will take legal action on behalf of one of its members, Danie van der Merwe, who is unemployed and who is excluded from this programme because of his skin colour.

“We believe we have a very strong case in this matter. Absolute exclusion on the basis of race is not and has never been allowed in our constitutional dispensation,” comments Solidarity deputy general secretary, Werner Human.

“We cannot stand by while this is being normalised without fighting it tooth and nail,” he continues.

“Solidarity Helping Hand also pledges its support for such action, pointing out that there are thousands of Danies among us and that exclusion such as this is making young white people feel unwelcome in the country of their birth,” notes Human.

“Unemployment is not just a figure; it represents a living person who is trying his or her best but who is suffering,” says Solidarity Helping Hand’s deputy chief executive Ernst Vorster.

“Not just because of his or her circumstances but who is now also being kicked while on the ground by a government that is treating them like second-class.

“In addition, figures on poverty in South Africa are bandied about, while all of those unemployed young persons who are being excluded from this programme are poor people, the very people one would have supposed a programme such as this would help – people like Danie van der Merwe,” comments Vorster.

Qualifying criteria

According to Yes4Youth the qualifying criteria for for youth is:

  • YES youth must be black, in accordance with the BEE definition;
  • YES youth must be between the ages of 18 – 34 (as this is the definition of youth); and
  • YES youth must be a South African citizen.

The YES programme is not for young people who want to change jobs but rather for currently unemployed youth.