ACTIVE labour market policies — such as the wage subsidy proposal that has been the object of much political wrangling between the government and organised labour — are given strong support by the National Development Plan as part of job creation efforts.
The subsidy, it is suggested, should take the form of a tax incentive for employers who hire young entrants to the labour market.
Other labour market policies that should be considered are:
n a subsidy for the employment placement sector to help prepare matriculants for the world of work, similar to suggestions from the African National Congress for a work-seeker’s grant;
• a more open approach to the immigration of skilled people to expand the supply of skill s;
• the expansion of public works programmes to include a capacity for 2-million opportunities by 2030; and
• learnerships and training vouchers for work seekers.
A particular labour market problem identified by the commission as an obstacle to employment growth is SA’s comparatively high starting wage. This would require rules to be "jointly developed" with labour so that some entry-level wage flexibility could be introduced without displacing older workers.
On a broader level, the plan describes SA as being caught in a "low-growth trap" from which it needs to break free if it is to achieve the levels of employment necessary to lift millions out of poverty. No one solution would be enough to escape this trap, which would require a range of things to happen. These would include raising exports, improving skills development, improving labour markets, investment in infrastructure to lower the cost of doing business, and a reduced regulatory burden for small businesses.
A seventh core proposal suggests lowering the cost of living for the poor, which would raise the living standards of those out of work, as well those in low-paid employment. An example of how this would be done is the provision of subsidised and reliable public transport.
The deputy chairman of the commission, Cyril Ramaphosa, said he envisaged "a compact between business, labour and government to allow the plan to be implemented".
For the plan to become a reality, said Mr Ramaphosa, it required the active support of all sectors of society. Business, in particular, had an important role to play.
"Business plays a fundamental role in the development of the country. It played a role in the past, in some cases propping up the apartheid regime. Business must now play a part in developing this country."
In a statement after the release of the plan, Business Unity SA said it supported the elevation of job creation, education and the building of a capable state as the three top priorities for the country.
"We welcome the broad thrust as an essential road map to take the South African economy from where it is now to where we want it to be in 2030. What matters now to business is that the National Development Plan must be urgently implemented to create the certainty and predictability that business and investor confidence needs," it said.
Business Unity SA said it hoped the plan would not be an excuse for further "talk shops" but would be seen by all as a platform for urgent national action.
More in this section
- Business Connexion, Conscript Africa launch app for job seekers
- Solidarity asks HRC to facilitate dialogue with SAA over cadet debacle
- Review of public servants’ pay due as soon as Sadtu talks conclude
- Academy aims to assist jobless youth
- Government now sees importance of facing mining constraints
- Amcu members walk out of Marikana cleansing ceremony