DA meets MEC over youth subsidy

2012-05-29 12:30

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo has met with finance MEC David Masondo and asked him to consider implementing the Youth Wage Subsidy in order to fight unemployment.

In January last year the national treasury proposed a youth subsidy, a scheme that would have seen companies employ thousands of young people at the cost government.

However, the unions have blocked the move, contending that it would force companies to lay off older workers.

With one out of every two young people not employed, DA leader in Limpopo Desiree van der Walt said the subsidy would go a long way towards reducing unemployment.

She said: “This proposal for Limpopo’s Youth Wage Subsidy is aimed at providing unemployed youth, aged 18 to 35 years, with a Matric or equivalent qualification the opportunity to engage in a six-month work experience programme.

“This programme, the Work and Skills Programme establishes learning and work placement opportunities to unemployed in Limpopo’s economic sectors so as to improve the future employment prospects of participants.”

According to Van der Walt’s proposal the Department of Economic Development and Tourism would provide a stipend of R1 200 over a period of six months to qualifying young people.

Companies where learners will be placed will be encouraged to top up the stipend, she said, adding that it would be a perfect scenario where government and the private sector collaborate to create jobs.

“Currently we have massive unemployment in the Province estimated recently by Stats SA (Q1; 2012) to be at 21.9% and the discouraged work seekers in the same period stood at 424 000.

“The youth are the hardest hit. This means that a very urgent and multi-facet programme to ease youth unemployment is needed in Limpopo.

“The Youth Wage Subsidy approved by the president and Cabinet will be national’s government jurisdictional competence but its implementation is now stalled by Cosatu who are opposed to it.”

Last week the DA, which is already implementing the subsidy in the Western Cape marched to Cosatu House to present a memorandum, requesting the labour federation to stop being a stumbling block to the implementation of the subsidy.

The Centre for the Study of Economic Development, a Johannesburg-based think-tank has also endorsed the Youth Wage Subsidy, saying it would reduce unemployment.

Van der Walt said: “In the meantime our youth is faced by high levels of unemployment and have no skills or experience needed to enter the job market.

“To overcome this problem, provincial governments need to be innovative and the Western Cape through its Work and Skills Programme is leading the way.

“This is the reason why we are proposing that Limpopo’s provincial government adopts a similar programme for our youth.”

Masondo’s spokesperson Nokubongwa Mdlalose could not be reached for comment.

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