I today visited the Western Cape's Youth Wage Subsidy Programme, the Work and Skills for 100 000 to see for myself the value of a youth wage subsidy in fighting youth unemployment.
The Subsidy is aimed at providing unemployed youth, aged 18 to 35 years, who have a Matric or equivalent qualification with the opportunity to engage in a 6 month work experience programme.
Through the provision of a R1200 stipend for each employee, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism is able to incentivise businesses to hire unemployed young people and bring them into the formal economy. The Work and Skills programme has already provided employment opportunities for 2966 participants since 2009.
I will today write to COSATU's Secretary General, Zwelinzima Vavi and urge him to come and see this success for himself, so that he can base his position on evidence, and not merely ideology.
Indeed, COSATU remains the only stumbling block to implementing the policy on a national level, where the federation has stalled the proposal at NEDLAC. This is despite the policy being announced by President Zuma in his State of the Nation Address in 2009, and R5 billion being set aside by the National Treasury for the purposes of implementing the policy.
Had the policy been implemented on the 1 April 2010, as planned by Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, an estimated 300,000 young South Africans would have already benefited from the policy to date.
Zwelinzima Vavi relies on baseless arguments, such as that this policy would result in older workers losing their jobs, to justify his opposition to job creation. The Western Cape's Youth Wage Subsidy is proving him wrong, as is every other international example of where a youth subsidy has been implemented.
If Mr Vavi wants to be taken seriously, then he must base his position on facts, and not out-dated ideological lingo. This is an opportunity for him to do just this.
He must come and view how the Western Cape is fighting youth unemployment through their own wage subsidy programme.
South Africa's 3.3 million unemployed young South Africans deserve nothing less.
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance.