Jobseekers march against ’ageism’

Organisations provincial coordinator, Anathi Tsengiwe, Organisations treasury, Nomvuyiseko Mcatshelwa and organisations secretary Yandiswa Manqindi were some of the people behind the march.
Members of the Forgotten Nation of South Africa Over 35 Unemployed organisation in Soweto also embarked on the same march.

“This ageism thing should be scrapped out of the government systems.”

So said Anathi Tsengiwe, the provincial coordinator for the Forgotten Nation of South Africa Over 35 Unemployed.

The organisation believes the “18 to 35” restriction on internships and job applications is ageist and should be scrapped. Its members, from various communities, including Khayelitsha, marched to the provincial parliament to hand their memorandum of grievances to the Western Cape premier Alan Winde on Friday October 22.

According to the organisation, people over the age of 35 battle to get access to training and work opportunities because of this restriction.

“What about someone who is above the age of 35 and is unemployed?” she asks. “Age is not a curse but a blessing and it should not be used to determine whether one should apply for a job or not.“

Ms Tsengiwe said there are many graduates over the age of 35 yet who are not employed and are looking for internships but the age policy denies them that opportunity even though they have the skills.

“As long you are not receiving a pension grant and you have the required skills for the job, you should be able to apply for it. We have people who at the age of 31 decide to apply in universities because when they passed their matric they could not further their studies due to various reasons and now they have the means to empower themselves.

“Now at the age of 36, they are graduates so do you mean that they cant apply for these internships because of their age when they have just completed their studies?

“We have realised that this is policy is not helping the country when it comes to giving everyone equal opportunities,” she said.

The organisation’s chairperson, Sandiso Twala, said whatever reasons for the restriction, it has not yielded the desired outcomes. He said they have given the premier seven working days to respond to their needs.

The organisation was established in February and to date over 1 000 people have signed its online petition, Mr Twala said, adding that it had members in seven provinces.

A representative from the office of the premier accepted the memorandum and promised to hand it over to the premier.