Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has denied allegations by opposition political parties that he and the ANC were using the Nas’ Ispani jobs programme to woo young voters.
The accusations, which are not new, have been coming thick-and-fast ahead of the upcoming general elections .
At the weekend, Lesufi added 32 000 young people on to the list of employed people after launching another program aimed at giving young people jobs as education assistants.
Over the past 12 months, Lesufi’s youth recruitment programme has created more than 90 000 jobs for the province’s unemployed young people.
Speaking at a media briefing of the Gauteng PEC Lekgotla on Monday, Lesufi denied the accusations against him, saying the programme was aimed at reducing unemployment in the province.
“All these political parties serve in the provincial legislature. They know the budget and they can hold us accountable if we are using these jobs for electioneering. What is the short-cut, they use a public platform and start insulting us. We are not electioneering, but we are a legitimate government with a mandate to govern this province,” he said.
Lesufi added that any legitimate government had the right to implement programs to uplift its citizens.
It has been reported that the provincial government will need at least R850 million to fund the latest jobs programme.
Through the latest initiative, the provincial government said it was set to employ 32 000 people to work as education assistants, general school assistants, and early childhood development assistants across Gauteng schools.
On Sunday, Lesufi gave out 32 000 appointment letters to young people gathered at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. He also defended the programme against those accusing him of electioneering.
“These are young people that were recorded by national government and their contracts came to an end. We felt that we can’t have 32 000 people unemployed, when they have done so well. So people if they say its election work, it’s unfortunate.
“We just want to give these people an opportunity rather than for them to join the unemployment queue. What is strange is that everyone in their manifesto talks about fighting unemployment but when you do that they also accuse you of electioneering. Our mission is to make sure young people in Gauteng get opportunities,” the premier said.