Youth Wage Subsidy Sees Some Consensus

The youth wage subsidy was announced more than two years ago and since then it has been through a long process of negotiations into how it would be implemented. Finally, some consensus has been reached but this by no means indicates that the process is coming to an end.

Obed Bapela, deputy minister in the Presidency for performance monitoring and evaluation, accepted a memorandum from the Democratic Alliance (DA) and unemployed South Africans on Monday in Pretoria. He said that Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel had reached some consensus on how the money would be used and this was a good step forward.

DA Leader Helen Zille said that the party would not rest until every South African could enjoy the “dignity” of an honest day’s work. The DA have been driving a campaign to have the R5bn wage subsidy implemented however, delays are still on the cards.

In response to a question by the DA in parliament, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said that the consultation process on strategies for stimulating employment was continuing and they hoped the discussion would come to a conclusion soon, but with no real date set.

Bapela said that it was disagreements during negotiations with the National Economic Development and Labour Council that had prolonged the process. There were concerns related to employers using the opportunity to replace the older employees with younger ones, and, the possibility that employers would pocket portions of the subsidy.

In the memorandum presented by the DA a study done by market research provider TNS was cited as saying that 77% of South Africans supported the subsidy and currently more than 3.2 million young South Africans are without work.

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