DA march for wage subsidy

By Drum Digital
11 June 2012

Hundreds of DA supporters marched in central Pietermaritzburg on Monday to demand the immediate introduction of a youth wage subsidy.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu led the procession to the office of premier Zweli Mkhize.

DA members were dressed in blue T-shirts and carried flags and placards reading: "youth wage subsidy now" and "we demand jobs today".

The DA said in a statement on Monday it had noted Mkhize's support for a youth wage subsidy.

"We will present him with a formal opportunity to put politics aside and back the Western Cape's call for provinces with the political will to roll out the subsidy, to be given a share of Treasury's budgeted R5 billion," said Mazibuko's chief of staff Russel Brueton.

Last month, the DA marched to the Congress of SA Trade Unions' (Cosatu) headquarters, in Johannesburg, about job losses and Cosatu's opposition to the youth wage subsidy.

The march turned violent when it was met by toyi-toying Cosatu members, who allegedly stoned the DA supporters.

Cosatu believes a subsidy suggests that high wages and restrictive labour laws are behind youth unemployment, when improving basic education, skills development, the "green economy" and local procurement will help more.

It believes the subsidy will encourage companies to hire cheap young labour just for the subsidy, and will retrench older workers.

President Jacob Zuma announced the R5-billion subsidy in Parliament in February 2010.

He said in May that the issue was still being discussed at the National Economic Development and Labour Council and final recommendations would be made to Cabinet.

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