ANC 'talking up' job seekers' grant to appease Cosatu, says DA
THE Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused the African National Congress (ANC) of talking down the youth wage subsidy and "talking up" what is called a "job seekers" grant.
Two years ago the Treasury set aside R5bn for the youth wage subsidy, which was supposed to be implemented from April 1 2012 but was rejected at the ANC's policy conference in June.
At a parliamentary press conference on Monday, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), a key ANC ally, had blocked the implementation of the youth wage subsidy, "because they (ANC) don't have the guts to take on Cosatu in the months leading up to the Mangaung (ANC national) conference".
Ms Mazibuko said that at the ANC's recent policy conference, it proposed that the money appropriated for the youth wage subsidy could be used in part to fund a job seekers' grant.
"The ANC remains vague on what such a grant would entail because it has not thought it through properly," she said.
The ANC's proposal was not a genuine attempt at policy-making for job creation. "It is a holding pattern designed to keep the ANC alliance partners happy until Manguang is over," she said.
DA federal chairman Wilmot James said his party's strategy to tackle youth unemployment recognised that supply- and demand-side interventions were needed.
"On the supply side young South Africans need to be quipped with the knowledge and skills that the economy needs to grow," he said.
On the demand side, Dr James said, the disincentives to hiring young and inexperienced job-seekers needed to be reversed.
"Employers are often unwilling to take on young first-time job seekers because they lack experience, even though they may have the right qualifications," he said.
Dr James said the country's restrictive labour laws created a disincentive for employers to take a risk on employing young or first-time job seekers, which had the effect of protecting established insiders against competition from young talent.
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