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Pretoria - Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille handed over a memorandum to the presidency at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday, requesting the introduction of a youth wage subsidy.
Deputy Minister in the Presidency Obed Bapela accepted the memorandum on the presidency's behalf.
“The government's role is to open doors,” Zille told Democratic Alliance members gathered on the Union Building lawns.
She said R5 billion rand was budgeted for the wage subsidy.
“Many of them may have already been working if the original deadline for the implementation of the youth wage subsidy, April 1, 2011, had been honoured,” Zille said.
“Where it has been tried in the world, it has been successful.”
Zille said the DA in the Western Cape took money from other budgets more than two years ago to implement the subsidy. More than 70 percent of these youths then went on to get permanent jobs and others went on to study.
“It has been enormously successful.”
DA supporters gathered on the lawns on Monday to demonstrate in support of the subsidy.
Demonstrators wearing T-shirts bearing the word “unemployment” were led in song and dance by a youth leader standing on the back of a truck.
Elsie Thubana, 20, said she joined the demonstration because she too was unemployed.
“I hope this will make a difference.”
Wellington Sigena, 42, also attended despite being wheelchair-bound. He said he would love to work at a hospital to help fix problematic administration and help other people in wheelchairs.
“I want to have a job. Government must train us.”
Mary Mashabane, 69, of Cullinan, was on the lawns, ready to demonstrate from 6am.
“I think Helen Zille will help us today. We will wait here until we get an answer.”
She said the people in her community had no jobs and the children struggled to go to school.
After the memorandum was handed over, supporters began piling into taxis or relaxing in the shade. - Sapa