End of the road for educated foreigners working in SA: ‘Operation Dudula you are our only hope’

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With graduation season currently underway, the Operation Dudula campaign has expressed its unhappiness with the number of unemployed graduates sitting at home.

The movement’s main concern was that the government was outsourcing jobs to other countries while many unemployed graduates were sitting at home in possession of the same skills.

They held a media briefing at the Pavillion Hotel to address “this catastrophe” and highlight how non-South Africans with fraudulent documents were illegally occupying jobs meant for young graduates.


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Deputy chairperson of Operation Dudula, Don Hadebe, said above everything else the government was isolating and overlooking South African youth while encouraging them to study, without giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills after graduating.

The government’s actions were contradictory to what it was preaching to the youth, he said.

“We are calling on the government and municipalities to intervene and help these unemployed graduates to get opportunities as they deserve better.

“They end up resorting to drugs because of the frustration and depression that come with not having a job. We are giving them a time frame to sort out this issue as this is not a talk show, we need action to happen,” he said.

Even with rebuilding the infrastructure damaged during the floods they could use the help of unemployed artisans and civil engineers; they need to stop outsourcing and give them a chance.

Among unemployed graduates who attended the media briefing was Sphelele Msane, 24, who said he had been constantly applying without any response.

Msane studied Forensic Science and Technology at Unisa and graduated in 2019, but said he sometimes applied 16 times a week together with his brother, Khaya Madlala, who did his LLB at the same institution and graduated in 2019. He said they also go hand out their CVs physically but nothing was working.

“The government is failing us, they say the youth is the future and they want us to have a three-year experience for entry-level jobs. But how are we supposed to have experience without being given the chance to gain it?

“We are just sitting at home with skills ready to be used. There are no programmes in place to help graduates.”

Mthembiseni Ngema, 24, also an unemployed graduate, said he studied Electrical Engineering at the Durban University of Technology. The main reason he opted for this course was because it was said to be a scarce course which meant more job opportunities, but he had been sitting at home ever since he graduated in 2019.

Another unemployed graduate, Thabisile Mbonambi, said it seemed Operation Dudula was their only hope as they were willing to listen to their grievances.

Hadebe said it did not make sense why graduates from Cuba were being constantly imported into South Africa while there are a thousand graduates with abundant skills.

There cannot be non-South Africans with the luxury of having jobs while unemployed professionals from this country were yearning for similar opportunities. He said they were willing to protest until they are heard.