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Pretoria - DA leader Helen Zille and a large group of youths representing the unemployed in SA, gathered at the Union Buildings on Monday where a memorandum, asking the Presidency to implement the youth wage subsidy, was handed over.
Zille told more than 400 DA supporters, wearing T-shirts imprinted with the word “unemployed”, the pilot youth subsidy programme in the Western Cape was a huge success.
Carrying posters with the faces of unemployed youths across the country, each supporter represented 1 000 jobless youths. Zille said the pilot programme was implemented more than two years ago with money taken from other programmes in the Western Cape. This was because R5 billion initially allocated by the ANC government for the youth subsidy - which was to have come into effect on April 1 - was stuck in the National Treasury’s budget and not available.
“More than 70 percent of the youths in this programme have been permanently employed. Some have had promotions and some are furthering their studies,” Zille said.
The memorandum was handed over to the Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Obed Bapela.
“We might not have all the answers but this (memorandum)… can tell us how to solve the problem (unemployment),” Bapela said.
Zille responded: “…we want to hear the words you have spoken from the mouth of the President (Jacob Zuma). Everything is in place, the money is there, let’s do it.”
The youth subsidy incentivises firms to hire young workers they would otherwise not. By doing so, jobs are created and skills developed.
Zille said many jobless youths could have been employed and growing the economy if the ANC had implemented the wage subsidy “instead of caving into pressure from Cosatu”. More than 200 000 young people would have benefited and more than 80 000 new jobs would have been implemented, she said.
An employment grant would not solve unemployment. The youth do not want a hand-out but the dignity of being employed,” Zille said.
Tumelo Modise, 24, a former law student said: “I could not complete my studies due to a lack of funds but I am willing to go out there, work hard and pay my own way.” - Pretoria News