1 February 2013

South Africa: Youth Wage Subsidy - Three Years of Activism By the DA Appears to Have Paid Off

press release

Three years of activism and mobilisation in support of the youth wage subsidy appears to have finally paid off for the DA and for many of the 4.8 million 15-34 year-old South Africans who are today trapped in unemployment.

Almost three years to the day since the subsidy was first announced by President Zuma, the ANC has finally committed to its implementation, with ANC policy head Jeff Radebe reportedly indicating that the ANC wants "to move with speed on this issue because we are ready".

This appears to be a significant victory for the DA in what has been a long and painstaking fight in Parliament, online, and on the streets of South Africa.

Given this news, I will today write to Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to enquire on the status of the implementation of the youth wage subsidy. I will also urge Minister Gordhan to ensure that the design will be in line with that contained in National Treasury's document on the youth wage subsidy, which was published in February 2011.

Some doubt on the implementation of the subsidy remains, however. ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe has reportedly fudged the issue by bizarrely stating that there is a "difference between incentives and the subsidy". This is, quite plainly, nonsense, and highlights the importance of National Treasury holding the line on their design, which will create the most jobs for young South Africans, and should not be watered down.

Tim Harris, Shadow Minister of Finance

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