Protest calls for no age discrimination in workplace

7 April 2022 

This is according to members of the Forgotten Nation of South Africa movement, led by Mmatlou Tsipa, who marched in Pretoria yesterday.

They submitted a memorandum to the Department of Employment and Labour in which they raised concerns about how the matter of ageism was being handled.

Tsipa said the march was to advocate and represent the needs and aspirations of those over the age of 35.

“We have identified ageism as one of the things which government uses to discriminate against people who are over the age of 35.

“We are submitting the memorandum to the department as referred to by the Presidency when we initially submitted a memorandum at the Union Buildings,” he said.

They want Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi to end the age requirement policy, as it leaves out this age group, resulting in them not qualifying for internships.

“It is not written anywhere under any administration in this country as it is not a government policy. It is being used as a way to address youth unemployment but at the same time forgetting that there are people who turn 36 years every day who are unemployed in this country.”

He gave the example of those who graduate from university at the age of 35, who will no longer qualify for internships because of the age requirement, but need internships to gain work experience.

Tsipa said they acknowledged that the unemployment rate among youth was high, but said depression was prevalent among those 35 and older who were unemployed.

He said they wanted the department to help train them in various sectors such as agriculture, so that they could create jobs.

“We are not saying we want jobs with big salaries, but something stable. We also want to create jobs with skills that they can provide us with,” said Tsipa.

Thendo Nethonzhe added that unemployment affected women more than men, given the high prevalence of gender-based violence in South Africa.

“Some of us stay in toxic relationships because we are unemployed. You might find that we are unemployed, yet we have all the necessary qualifications, but age is hindering us from getting employment.”

The memorandum was handed to director of labour relations Stephen Rathal, who received it on behalf of Nxesi, and he promised a response within 14 days.

“Your demands are genuine. There is no policy in government that discriminates against age. If you read the legislation there is no such policy,” said Rathal.

The movement also submitted proposals on how the matter could be addressed.

Source: IOL at