Cape Town - 120828 - The DA is hosted an “On the Couch” interactive discussion with DA Leader Helen Zille, COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota and DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko themed “South Africa at the Crossroads” at the District Six Museum in Cape Town. Mosiuoa Lekota is holding the Constitution of South Africa. Reporter: Sibusiso Nkomo Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The Western Cape government will invest R112 million to create first-time jobs for young people this year, resulting in 1 000 job opportunities for people aged 18 to 35, Premier Helen Zille has announced.

In her State of the Province address on Friday, Zille said the provincial government was committed to making the National Development Plan (NDP) work.

She said the Western Cape had been chosen to pilot three crucial initiatives under the NDP. They are:

* Reduction of red tape.

* Creation of an economic development partnership to facilitate growth and jobs.

* An after-school programme to keep young people involved in productive activities.

“We have added a fourth component: we will expand our version of the youth wage subsidy to give more young people a foothold on the ladder of our economy so that they can build their careers and move out of poverty.”

The Western Cape’s version of the subsidy, the Work and Skills Programme, provides learning and work placement opportunities to unemployed people aged between 18 and 35.

More than 2 800 job opportunities have been provided under the programme since its launch in 2009, with 60 percent of participants being offered permanent jobs.

“I am pleased to announce today that the Development Bank of Southern Africa has granted R64m from its jobs fund to build this programme.

“Our government and partners have equalled this commitment, which means that R112m will be invested in creating first-time jobs for young people during the coming financial year, resulting in the creation of 1 000 work opportunities,” Zille said.

Turning to the spate of rapes and murders in the Cape, she said there were no appropriate words to describe the crimes against women and children. “As we piece together the tragic story of Anene Booysen’s short life, and the background of her alleged killers, we see the all-too-familiar strands of a web in which so many young lives are trapped: absent parents, dysfunctional families, drug and alcohol abuse, school drop-outs.

“Yes, the state has a crucial role to play in combating these social ills and in protecting our young people. But it is impossible to resolve any of them without everyone playing a role.”

Zille said 76 percent of the province’s annual budget was directed towards opening opportunities for people in poor communities through education, health services, housing and social development programmes.

On business and the economy, she said the province’s Red Tape Reduction Unit had helped to create an enabling environment for new businesses.

Of the 921 administrative bottle necks reported since August 2011, 89.3 percent had been successfully cleared, she said.

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Cape Argus