In May this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the new cabinet, as well as reconfiguration of several government departments including the Department of Labour, which was renamed Employment and Labour.
The expansion of the Department’s mandate signalled government’s resolve to accelerate job creation in order to rapidly reduce unemployment. The name change requires the Department and its entities to change its posture and double its efforts to create jobs and preserve the ones already existing.
In his budget vote speech delivered in July this year, Minister Thulas Nxesi mentioned that the Department is going to leverage on its entities, which are labour market instruments, to preserve jobs and invest in job creating initiatives.
Section 5 of the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Act of 2016 provides for the use of UIF funds for the retention of contributors in employment and re-entry into the labour market, and UIF has already made significant strides in executing this section of the Act.
In April 2019, UIF launched 32 training partnerships with various institutions to retrain UIF contributors and unemployed youth. An amount of 7.9 billion rand has been budgeted to train 130 thousand learners over a three-year period.
Currently approximately 30 000 learners have already started training in programmes covering artisanship, business venture creation, learnerships and short learning skills development programmes.
The most critical phase of the mentioned training interventions is the exit phase, where learners are able to find employment or create employment by starting their businesses.