PEACEFUL: The DA march winds its way through the Pietermaritzburg CBD to the KwaZulu-Natal premiers office. Picture: Shan Pillay
PEACEFUL: The DA march winds its way through the Pietermaritzburg CBD to the KwaZulu-Natal premiers office. Picture: Shan Pillay

DA’s march for youth wage subsidy

By Sherlissa Peters Time of article published Jun 12, 2012

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About 200 DA supporters marched through Pietermaritzburg’s CBD on Monday to Premier Zweli Mkhize’s offices in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street demanding the introduction of a youth wage subsidy.

Led by DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu, the marchers toyi-toyied through the streets carrying flags and placards.

Mazibuko and Mchunu handed over a memorandum to the premier’s representative, Cyril Xaba, after which the march ended peacefully.

Addressing the crowd and the premier’s contingent, Mazibuko said the DA had noted Mkhize’s support for a youth wage subsidy. “We are calling for the premier to back the Western Cape call for provinces with the political will to roll out the subsidy, to be given a share of Treasury’s budgeted R5 billion,” she said.

Mazibuko further asked that young people in KZN “be given the opportunity to rise to their potential and enter the economic arena”.

According to the

memorandum handed to Xaba, there are 3.1 million unemployed youths in SA, and research by the Human Sciences Research Council indicated that less than 50 percent of current matriculants will hold jobs before they turn 24.

The DA has said that a youth wage subsidy would act as an incentive for on-the-job training.

After

the march on Monday, Premier Mkhize called on political parties to engage constructively on youth development instead of playing with emotions of vulnerable members of our society in order to advance narrow, party-political interests.

“We have long expressed our support for the youth wage subsidy, which was initially announced by the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan two years ago, with an allocation of about R5bn in the February Budget estimates. We have expressed our hope that this matter, which is currently before the National Economic Develop-ment and Labour Council will be resolved speedily and recommendations made to national and provincial cabinet,” Mkhize said.

“We can safely say that KwaZulu-Natal is readying itself for the implementation of this initiative.”

Mkhize said that to support students from poor families, the provincial government has awarded 2 743 students bursaries worth more than R112.2 million so far this year.

There are more than 1 051 interns this year working for various provincial government departments, costing government more than R52.4m.

Mkhize also said that R55m has been allocated towards the Youth Ambassador Campaign in an attempt to deal with the challenges of social ills.

Last month, the DA marched to the Congress of SA Trade Unions’ headquarters in Johannesburg about job losses and Cosatu’s opposition to the youth wage subsidy.

The march turned violent when it was met by toyi-toying Cosatu members.

Cosatu is against the subsidy, which it said would encourage companies to hire cheap, young labour just for the subsidy, leading to the retrenchment of older workers.

Sapa reported that the process of adopting a youth wage subsidy was being speeded up following an announcement by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel on Monday. 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.

Parliament’s finance committee has been told the design of the subsidy will be completed by the end of June. - Daily News

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