The Yes government jobs website, aimed at helping unemployed young South Africans, has come under heavy criticism from Solidarity.
The website, and underlying Yes initiative, was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March as a partnership with business and organised labour.
It was set up to help young South Africans who have been unemployed for longer than six months find a job.
“Yes recognises the critical role the youth play in shaping our economy and our country. Yet six million young people are shut out of the economy. The only way to reduce inequality is to get us all into work, to build incomes and to invest inclusively. Now is the time to lend a hand,” states the Yes website.
Solidarity has stated that young, white South Africans are “unwelcome” however, as they cannot register on the website.
“The problem is that on the Yes webpage, it blatantly declares to prospective white applicants that this project will only be open to black, coloured, and Indian candidates,” Solidarity said.
The organisation stated that the exclusion is part of a “long list of policies obsessed with race”, and that exclusion based on race was becoming the norm.
“We dare not allow racial exclusion to become commonplace and normal – the past has shown us how dangerous that is.”
Solidarity said it will draft a letter to the President asking that this scheme should permit white people to apply.
When registering on the Yes website, users are asked three questions:
- Are they Black, Coloured, or Indian.
- Are they South African.
- Are they between 18 and 34.
Selecting “no” to the first question, and yes to the other two questions, produces a pop-up which says: “I’m sorry. Yes is only available to Black, Indian, or Coloured South Africans who are 18 – 34 years.”
Update – Redress the skewed economic realities
The Yes initiative told MyBroadband that the organisation appreciates “how difficult the job-seeking journey is for people of every race”.
“However, Yes’s approach aims to redress the skewed economic realities created by South Africa’s past,” it stated.
“The most recent quarterly labour survey from Stats SA shows that the rate of Black, Indian, and Coloured youth who are not in employment, education, or training are significantly higher than those who are white. Black youth experience the highest rate – at more than double that of white.”
Yes stated that thanks to decades of systematic exclusion through apartheid, these youth are “also less likely to be able to afford tertiary education, or have access to the networks that give first-time job seekers a leg-up into the working world”.
“For these reasons, the Yes programme focuses on connecting previously disadvantaged youth to job opportunities.”
“Companies can earn points on the B-BBEE scorecard by participating in the Yes programme. We therefore align our race definitions and requirements with B-BBEE legislation,” it added.
“We invite white job-seeking youth to visit the websites of some of our partners, including: www.giraffe.co.za; www.careerjunction.co.za; www.jobstarter.co.za, and www.lulaway.co.za.
The Yes movement is bigger than race, it concluded.
The screenshot below show the registration page for the Yes website.