Reviving apprenticeships, skilling youth in trades, agriculture can curb poverty

People migrating into abject poverty daily are is increasing rapidly in SA
People migrating into abject poverty daily are is increasing rapidly in SA
Image: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

The number of people migrating into abject poverty daily is increasing rapidly in SA.

The sight of young children and adults roaming the streets is becoming normal in the suburbs.

Similarly, the number of people who live and sleep on pavements, in derelict buildings, under bridges and in drainage pipes, has increased drastically in the past 18 months.

The conditions under which they live are not conducive for human habitation, wellbeing and health.

The advent of Corvid-19 worsened an already dire situation.

The sight of this deprivation is not good. Poverty is everywhere and has been with humanity for a long period.

It was expected that industrialisation would eliminate poverty in the aftermath of England’s Industrial Revolution.

This optimism was premised on the mass production introduced by machinery, as opposed to the days when everything was manually produced.

At the root of our failure to stem the tide of poverty in our nation, is the failure to adapt fast, complaining, and unwillingness to change our failing strategy timeously.

As a result, we are failing to protect our people from spiralling poverty.

Our state is characterised by inefficient institutions, corruption, and political instability — so vulnerable people are left to their own devices.

Many citizens in our country live in levels of deprivation only seen in war-torn regions.

Poverty is no longer an amusing topic for academics in lecture halls and at the dinner tables of altruists.

Poverty is real and topical. Poverty means starvation to many citizens.

A poverty-stricken society loses the sense and meaning of freedom.

Poverty strips individuals of their dignity, safety and security.

Poor people, everywhere, are subjected to harsh social conditions, such as low life-expectancy, higher exposure to crime, drugs and alcohol abuse, high mortality rates, illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness and landlessness.

Charities, international donors and aid agencies are doing a magnificent job in attempting to alleviate the poverty and hunger.

However, no nation can rely on charitable organisations to secure the welfare of its people.

The UNHCR, Unicef, WFP and a multiple of known and unknown non-government organisations are limited by what they can accomplish with their meagre resources.

The levels of poverty being experienced now are bordering on infringing on the basic human rights of citizens.

Rural people, women and the youth are the most negatively affected by poverty.

Our government has failed dismally to develop livelihoods for people in rural areas, despite having a department called rural development.

Poverty can and must be eliminated.

Our country must put our national wealth at the centre of eliminating poverty.

Poverty can be reversed by a government that has a vision and clear development strategies.

Equipping people, especially women and the youth, with useful skills and productive assets to sustain themselves is one of the easiest and fastest ways of empowering people out of poverty.

This can be done in rural areas by providing people with agricultural land, implements, fertiliser, veterinary services and technical assistance.

The government must enhance the production capacity of rural people.

Don’t forget that if these people were given the opportunities to live to their full potential, they would be contributing to the economy, to education, to all sectors of society.

Intelligence is universal. It is poverty that dulls the mind and body.

Assisting the poor to work themselves out of poverty is the most viable strategy to restore the dignity and confidence of both urban and rural people in the short term.

The international relief system is no good in Africa. It perpetuates dependency on that system.

Outside assistance can only be useful if it assists people to fend for themselves.

Urban areas are becoming the concentration camps of poverty.

This is caused by the influx of people who leave the unbearable rural living conditions to go and look for a “better life”.

They flood into the crowded urban areas and settle in shanty settlements that are mushrooming on the outskirts.

The urban areas are themselves bursting at the seams with overpopulation, and this puts huge pressure on the already decaying and inadequate infrastructure.

It is reported that informal settlements ballooned from 300 in 1994 to 2,750 in 2011.

Fast-tracking special economic zones is one of the ways that will help to reduce poverty in urban areas that are awash with idle labour.

The government should provide incentives to labour-intensive manufacturers and producers.

With attractive tax incentives and low production costs, the tide can be turned quickly.

Economic growth is a prerequisite to reducing poverty.

Reviving apprenticeships and skilling the youth in trades and in agriculture are some of the ways of attacking poverty.

People must have skills to build, repair and maintain the infrastructure.

Successful nations are those that hold in high esteem entrepreneurs, plumbers, electricians, farmers, transport mechanics and so on.

Those trades become the backbone of a viable middle class.

All of this will be achieved with a quality and solid educational system that addresses the economic needs of the country.

Building our national wealth is the only way to eliminate poverty.

Mkhuseli “Khusta” Jack, Gqeberha businessman and former anti-apartheid activist, launched the Abantu Integrity Movement, which is set to contest the upcoming municipal elections


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