As South Africa grapples with a record unemployment rate of nearly 33%, the United Nations and other experts have warned that this is a “time bomb” that has the potential to cause political instability.

More than half of the country’s young people are jobless resulting in rising levels of poverty, and inequality and fuelling social ills like crime and drug use among young people in sub-Saharan Africa’s most developed economy.

The country has been urged to make urgent interventions to transform its economy to avoid the unemployment rate reaching nearly 40% by 2030.

From the capital Pretoria to the far east of Johannesburg, qualified graduates are doing menial jobs while others have resorted to recycling to earn a living in a country that has shed more than 2 million jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic didn’t cause Themba Khumalo’s problems.