ANC’s youth plan aims to win votes

2013-10-14 00:00

THE ANC is hoping the country’s voters and alliance partners will throw their weight behind the Youth Incentive Scheme aimed at creating jobs for the unemployed young people months before the 2014 elections.

The long-awaited scheme is now the subject of consultation in the ANC-led alliance, and the scheme would “soon” be rolled out, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said in Durban at the weekend.

“The idea we are exploring at the moment is the question of a youth incentive scheme that will enable young people to find work, but it will also provide incentive to employers employing young people,” Duarte said.

She made the statements at a manifesto forum meeting on Saturday where the ANC reported on work done by the government and also to solicit views of interest groups on a manifesto to be unveiled in January.

“The nitty-gritty has not exactly been worked out. That is an idea that is being worked on as opposed to the previous young wage scheme. This is in discussion with Cosatu, SACP and ourselves,” she said.

“It is a matter that will come up as a policy position quite soon.”

She said youth unemployment was a big issue facing the country and the youth incentive scheme was one way to fight it.

The incentive scheme comes almost two weeks after the cabinet approved the draft Employment Incentive Bill and almost two months after the DA launched a plan to tackle youth unemployment.

The DA’s plan, already rolled out in the Western Cape, entails a youth wage subsidy and a voucher scheme, amongst other measures.

But in terms of the draft bill, the tax incentives will cut the cost to employers hiring young people while leaving the wage the employee receives unaffected.

The incentive is expected to be implemented on January 1, 2014 and last until the end of 2016.

The maximum subsidy of R1 000 per month will apply to workers earning between R2 000 and R4 000 a month, as well as incentivise hiring people on wages lower than R2 000.

President Jacob Zuma first announced the youth wage subsidy in his 2010 State of the Nation address and R5 billion was allocated for the subsidy the same year.

But its implementation was put on hold after Cosatu’s fears that employers would use it to replace older workers, and deepen the problem of dual labour markets.

At the manifesto forum meeting people initially listed a catalogue of complaints from their wards, until they were asked to make suggestions for the manifesto.

A Durban University of Technology student who identified herself as Fikile, said government should finance their bachelor of technology degrees, while resident Nelisiwe Kunene asked the ANC to attend to the bad roads in her community.

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