Cosatu’s theory that the youth wage subsidy will result in exploitation is false, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.
“Plenty of research has been commissioned to test the validity of the youth wage subsidy all over the world,” she told supporters at a march in favour of the subsidy system.
“It shows that young people will get absorbed in the workplace. There is no substitution and no exploitation.”
She said the youth wage subsidy had been successfully implemented in Singapore and in the UK.
“Any youth wage subsidy policy has to be implemented within the framework of labour legislation.
“So Cosatu’s argument that this will result in exploitation and substitution is just a premise to prevent the ANC from implementing policy.”
She accused Cosatu of playing politics with the lives of young people, who needed the wage subsidy because the education system had failed them.
The youth subsidy was a chance for young people to gain skills on the job.
Hundreds of DA supporters marched peacefully in Pietermaritzburg for the youth wage subsidy.
Mazibuko called on Premier Zweli Mkhize to introduce the youth wage subsidy in his province of KwaZulu-Natal.
“I challenge Mkhize, I want him to ask Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for his share to implement the youth wage subsidy.
“The youth wage subsidy can address unemployment,” she said.
Mkhize did not arrive to receive the DA’s memorandum but sent provincial planning committee head Cyril Xaba to receive it on his behalf.
In a statement issued later, Mkhize said he had called on all political parties in the legislature to engage constructively on youth development.
“We hope this matter currently before the national development and labour council will be resolved speedily and recommendations made to national and provincial cabinet.
“We can safely say KwaZulu-Natal is readying itself for the implementation of this initiative.”
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said the DA’s demands were all about political point scoring.
“The march was not necessary, because the provincial government is readying itself for the implementation of the wage subsidy,” provincial party secretary Sihle Zikalala said.
The DA missed an opportunity to take part in a discussion on youth development in the provincial legislature last week, he said.
“Instead the DA has opted to embark on a public grandstanding exercise aimed at misleading the public.”
Meanwhile, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said yesterday adopting a youth wage subsidy is being speeded up.
Replying to a written parliamentary question from DA MP Kenneth Mubu, Patel said moves were under way to accelerate discussions at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
“We have elevated the discussions to senior level with the constituents concerned to ensure the discussions are concluded expeditiously,” Patel said.
Talks have consistently deadlocked at Nedlac, with Cosatu opposing the move.
Cosatu has rejected the youth incentive scheme, arguing that employers will hire younger workers at a lower wage at the expense of older, more experienced employees.
Cosatu and DA members clashed in Joburg last month after the opposition party led a pro-youth wage subsidy march.
Parliament’s finance committee has been told the design of the subsidy will be completed by the end of this month.
In his reply, Patel said the Nedlac process would be accelerated, particularly this month, which had been named youth month.
“Based on progress, a report will be submitted to the cabinet to finalise the matter,” he said.