DA did not develop wage subsidy – ANC

2012-05-22 07:11

The DA’s claim that it developed a wage subsidy system in the Western Cape is untrue, the ANC in the province has said.

“The pro-poor programme to assist youth to get skills-and-work-experience was started in practice on the ANC watch,” it said in a statement.

“It never was or is a wage subsidy to young people, but a training opportunity for entry level workers to help them become more employable.”

The ANC said there was never a subsidy because the provincial government was going to pick up the training costs.

It was reacting to comments made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) at a briefing yesterday on a youth wage subsidy programme being introduced in the Western Cape.

Economic development MEC Alan Winde earlier said the programme, created in 2009, had placed more than 2000 first-time job seekers into a six-month work position, with about 7% remaining in the position full-time.

The candidates had to have at least a matric or equivalent qualification and to be between 15 and 34 years old.

They received a R1?200 monthly stipend from the province, with many companies opting to top this up.

The ANC said former Western Cape premier Lynn Brown announced the programme first in September 2008, when the party was still running the province.

“The DA’s bleating and bragging is blunt in the light of the true facts. It once more proves the DA only piggybacks on ANC plans and has not come up with something new yet,” the Western Cape ANC said.

“R10 million was set aside to kick start the programme in the budget speech of March 2009 prior to the elections.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the province said it was surprised at the DA’s claim that it had launched a wage subsidy in the Western Cape.

“This is an old activity that the DA launched in 2009, which it is now trying to dress up as a wage subsidy for propaganda purposes,” Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said.

“The DA is not letting facts stand in the way of their desperate attempt to try and expand their electoral base, by appearing to be concerned about the huge sea of black youth unemployed.”

Ehrenreich said the DA was aware that there were discussions happening in Parliament and at the National Economic Development and Labour Council to ensure that the unintended consequences of substitutions or job displacement were avoided.

He said it was dishonest of the DA to say it was a fact and it was just waiting to be implemented.

“Cosatu Western Cape dismisses the DA launch of a wage subsidy in the Western Cape as a gimmick to make political mileage and one that workers have seen through,” said Ehrenreich.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s spokesperson Zak Mbele reacted by saying her office was not sure what link the ANC was trying to make between the wage subsidy system and the ANC’s training programme.

“By the ANC’s own admission their programme was not a wage subsidy scheme,” Mbele said.

He said the programme was developed in July 2009 so the ANC could not claim any attribution to that because it was not done through its administration.

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