Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi. File photo: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi is eyeing the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Compensation Fund to help create and sustain jobs.

Nxesi said the use of the two entities on job creation and preservation was the thinking of the role of the reconfigured department.

“We will leverage the resources of the department and of our entities, which are our labour market instruments, the UIF and the Compensation Fund to preserve jobs and to invest in job creating initiatives,” he said.

Nxesi also said they wanted to ensure that workers were reskilled and retrained for the job market.

There will be vocational and remedial training for the unemployed and programmes for youth from school, apprenticeships and 130000 learnerships over three years.

The UIF has budgeted R7.9 billion in the next three years to achieve this.

Nxesi also said the Compensation Fund would contribute to fighting poverty and unemployment.

“Ten percent of the fund’s R42bn surplus is invested in high impact job creation business ventures across all sectors.”

The department’s director-general, Thobile Lamati, said the function of the UIF and Compensation Fund was not just to pay out monies to workers who lost jobs or injured workers.

There is, Lamati said, a legal provision to access the funds to make them available for the labour market.

“The UIF has responsibility to invest in job creation initiatives. These are used to make sure jobs are created and people are placed.”

He also said the use of the UIF and Compensation Fund for job initiatives had always been there but had not been amplified before.

Nxesi said the UIF was already contributing to fighting poverty and unemployment as 20% of its Social Responsibility Investment (SRI) Fund was invested in high impact job creation business ventures across all sectors and provinces.

“To date, almost R17bn has been allocated to the SRI investments which has in turn created 23442 jobs.”

The minister said his department would form partnerships with employers and training institutions, particularly the Higher Education and Training Department to address future skills of the labour market to tap from Setas.

“The president has said that we must train the youth for the digital jobs which are expected to be created in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

According to the minister, the Seta funds awarded by the Higher Education Department “were meant for reskilling not bursaries”.

Nxesi said the government would also use its labour market policies to improve access to jobs and skills.

He said a stable labour market was necessary for creating a conducive environment for investment.

“Recent amendments to the Labour Relations Act address strikes or lockouts that are intractable and violent. These provided for the establishment of an advisory arbitration panel,” he said.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration is responsible for implementing the measures.

In pursuit of social justice and transformed a labour market, Nxesi said the government had published the Employment Equity Amendment Bill for comment.

Once passed into law, employers that were compliant with the law would receive an equity certificate of compliance as a precondition to access state contracts worth over R1bn.

Political Bureau