12 February 2010
The South African government is to table proposals to subsidise the cost of hiring young workers to encourage companies to take on inexperienced staff, as the country focuses on job creation targeting youngsters.
The government created 480 000 public works job opportunities by the end of December 2009, falling just three percent short of the target set by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address last year.
Delivering his State of the Nation address in Parliament, Cape Town on Thursday, Zuma said these jobs were created in areas such as construction, home and community-based care, and environmental projects.
Now, he said, the country’s urgent focus should be on interventions to create jobs for young people.
“The most urgent focus of policy change must be interventions to create jobs for young people. Unemployment rates for young people are substantially higher than the average.”
Expansion of public programmes
A further expansion of public employment programmes, including local infrastructure and literacy projects, home-based care, school maintenance and early childhood development initiatives, was also under way.
“We have identified some areas of improvement which we will effect going forward, including ensuring more labour-intensive projects.”
Zuma said the government acknowledged that these and other measures could not fully mitigate the effects of the recession, but added that the country was grateful for the spirit of community and voluntary work which had inspired many to help people in hard economic times.
The government had also urged the National Youth Development Agency, created in 2009 through a merger of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission, to speed up the roll-out of branches throughout the country.
The government had also created the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Advisory Council, chaired by the President, to promote an inclusive economy.