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Entrepreneurship training and job creation in South Africa : are tertiary institutions filling the gap?

  • Journal Title: Journal of Contemporary Management
  • Issue: 
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 441  - 462
  • Authors:  A.A. Ndedi;
  • ISSN: 18157440
  • Abstract:  Injustices, prejudices and other developments in the history of a group may disrupt their social cohesion leading to a vicious circle trapped in poverty. In South Africa, for many decades, black people experienced an oppressive white minority regime that implemented segregationist policies. In 1994, a first black president from the African National Congress (ANC) was elected and there were high hopes that the new dispensation would create a better South Africa for all. Various ANC governments since then have adopted many economic programmes with the aim to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014 - especially among the historically disadvantaged individuals (PDI). In 1994 the ANC adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) as a policy framework to guide in transforming South Africa from a divided society to one that provides equal opportunities for all its citizens. The main principles of the RDP were to meet the people's basic needs; to develop the country's human resources; to build the economy; and to democratize state institutions and society. In 1996, according to many commentators, many of the RDP's targets were as yet unrealised.
    Two years later, in 1996, the ANC adopted a plan known as the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) a macroeconomic strategy for rebuilding and restructuring the economy in line with the main principles of the RDP. Where the RDP had promised basic services for all, GEAR promised public-private sector partnerships based on cost recovery. It is estimated that almost a million jobs were lost to GEAR and South Africa's unemployment rate is now estimated at almost 50 per cent among young people. During the same period, two new initiatives, Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and thereafter Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), designed to correct the imbalances of the past by targeting those who are entering the job market for the first time, were launched. On 6 February 2006, during a media briefing, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka announced a background document, a catalyst for Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative-South Africa (ASGISA), with the objective of supporting previous programmes in the effort to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.
    It can thus be seen that the problem of poverty alleviation and unemployment remain the primary concerns of various initiatives that have been developed since 1994 by ANC governments. This article aims to make a contribution to official initiatives that strive to tackle the issue of unemployment among young graduates. In so doing it highlights the role of higher learning institutions in the process. The paper also discusses the fact that universities have thus far failed to make a significant contribution to the implementation of government policies on job creation. Finally the article posits a strategic framework for effective and efficient programmes on job creation among youth graduates.
    The first part of this paper provides the key rationales of this contribution. The second part explains the concept of entrepreneurship, the characteristics of entrepreneurs, and the development of the discipline during the last decades, while the third part of the discussion turns to the contribution of entrepreneurship in job creation in USA, showing how the same process could be implemented in South Africa. Finally a strategic framework for an effective and efficient job creation and unemployment reduction in South Africa is suggested.
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