Employment is key to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan. Billions of rand have been pledged through different programmes aimed at reducing unemployment due to the recession and Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the first update on the Presidential Employment Stimulus programme, more than 400,000 employment opportunities have been created since the initiative was announced earlier this year. It is meant to create 800,000 opportunities with R13-billion committed in the first year, and over R100-billion committed to employment opportunities by the government for the next three years.
“This is being achieved through an unprecedented expansion of public and social employment, as well as through the protection of existing jobs in vulnerable sectors and support for livelihood and enterprise opportunities,” the presidency said. “Its aim is to support livelihoods while the labour market recovers – investing in public goods and services, enhancing skills and employability, and boosting demand in the economy at the same time.” Eleven national departments are responsible for implementing various programmes. The Presidency’s Project Management Office is responsible for the programme’s overall coordination.
According to the report, the spotlight is on the Basic Education Employment initiative, which seeks to create 300,000 job opportunities for the youth, who are affected the most by unemployment. “The Department of Basic Education has moved swiftly to implement the President’s call to create employment for young people in the basic education sector,” the report reads. “This includes 200,000 education assistants and 100,000 general school assistants, reaching communities across the length and breadth of the country.”
Over 850,000 young people applied for these opportunities and most of them are women. The selection process for education assistants will prioritise young people with qualifications in education or other post-school training.
The general school assistants’ programme will focus on people with skills in bricklaying, woodwork or other skills relevant to the maintenance of school infrastructure.
“We hope it will encourage youth involvement in the schools beyond the project lifespan and that the employment opportunities created will contribute to local community upliftment,” said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
A total of R7-billion has been set aside for these initiatives. The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Global Business Services incentive programme has been reinstated to create 8000 new jobs. Last month, 1178 jobs were created, and the incentives generated R88-million in export revenues.
The Social Development Department has reinstated 994 social workers who began working on 1 November. Another 815 social workers are expected to be employed.
The Public Works Department has hired more than 2000 participants for public employment programmes in water and energy efficiency, facilities management, waste management, and for the Welisizwe rural bridges programme which aims to build 400 bridges in the next three years.