Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe. Photo: GCIS

Cape Town -

The controversial youth wage subsidy will be introduced at the end of the Nedlac process, maybe in an “enriched” form, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Wednesday.

“It will happen at the conclusion of those discussions. It may not be in the original form, it may be enriched, it may be in a more effective way. That's the answer to that,” he said during National Assembly question time. Opposition party MPs pushed him to give decisive answers on when the subsidy would be implemented.

One MP accused the government of flip-flopping on the policy.

Motlanthe insisted discussions at the National Economic Development and Labour Council were at an advanced stage, despite differences between various groups. Nedlac represents business, labour, civil society, and government.

Motlanthe said the government was pushing for the Nedlac process to be fast-tracked and for a report to be submitted to Cabinet.

“I believe we are treating the matter with the urgency that it deserves. That's why three ministers are going to be interacting with Nedlac to ensure we get this report (from Nedlac). We're no less eager to get the report than you on the other side of the House.”

He said the wage scheme should not be seen as a silver bullet for unemployment, but was part of a multi-pronged approach to create jobs for the country's youth.

“The minister of labour as well as the minister of finance and the minister of economic development are seized with this matter to ensure whatever stumbling blocks or areas that still hold this process back are clarified in Nedlac itself....that is why as soon as we receive that report in Cabinet, all stops will be pulled out.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions was opposed to the subsidy, saying businesses would abuse it and employ younger workers at lower wages, and that older, more experienced employees would be pushed out. - Sapa