The reality of unemployment through the eyes of a Weltevreden Park resident

The unemployment rate in South Africa has increased by 1.2 per cent. Photo: File


Local resident, Ashley Penhall (33), has been unemployed for the last nine months.

It is not for lack of trying that Penhall finds himself without a job and living with his father. Penhall grew up in Weltevreden Park and attended Allen Glen High School. When he matriculated he worked at a local gym for a year before the business folded.

He had saved up enough money so that he could study at the Travel Learning College in Randpark, where he was unable to finish his degree due to personal circumstances.

Since then he said he claims he has had bad luck in the workplace. As money is already an issue, Penhall explained that he, along with other job seekers known to him, take what he calls, desperation jobs. These jobs do not pay well but are close to home and do not create other expenses, such as petrol costs or the printing of a CV.

Penhall sees himself as a minority in the country and is unemployed, which makes him wonder how many other people are out there who might not have the same support and who are struggling even more than he is.

READ: Zuma to blame for lack of jobs – Maimane 

According to statistics released by Stats SA, the first quarter of this year revealed unemployment rose by 1.2 per cent, which amounts to 6.2 million people.

Besides the economic climate, which has made store owners and businesses think twice before hiring, Penhall blames job specifications relating to race, gender and age that further deteriorate jobseekers’ eligibility. Vacancies which will only employ women or individuals of a certain race or age make it difficult and frustrating to apply for jobs, especially if individuals are capable of doing the advertised job. Penhall added a better public transport system and standardised pricing of staple food should be implemented to support unemployed citizens.

Every week Penhall keeps searching newspapers in the hopes of a job opportunity. Although he admits it can be depressing, he continues to search.

“You have to keep moving. Do not sit and wallow as it will only get worse. Remain positive and seek emotional support.”


Amy Ingram

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