Cape Town - The conversation between labour and the public about job creation has some urgency attached to it, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.
"We have a 50% unemployment rate. How long do we want to talk? Where's the sense of urgency?
"This conversation has a lot more urgency attached to it. Urgency must be in the actions we take," he told business at a breakfast.
He said it was vital for business and the government to work together to find solutions.
"We (the government) are realistic about job creation. Labour and public have to talk.
"How do we create an appropriate climate for job creation?" the minister asked.
He said while the government was willing to put money on the table, "take-up is sometimes not good".
"The question is how do we combine issues... transforming and creating employment."
He urged South African businesses to "come to the party" and join the government in creating jobs, especially for the youth.
In parliament on Wednesday, Gordhan announced that a R5bn youth employment subsidy would be implemented from April next year.
Details of the subsidy were expected to be made public on Friday.
"That is one of many ideas that we are going to need to create jobs among the youth in South Africa."
A document tabled in parliament on the youth employment subsidy explained that it would compensate employers for taking on young employees "whose productivity is unknown".
The subsidy would make it cheaper for employers to assess the potential of new entrants into the labour market.
It could also offset the costs or risks to employers in the training of young workers.
"(The) advantage of a youth employment subsidy is that it lowers the relative cost to the employer of hiring a young and inexperienced person without reducing the take home pay of the young worker," the document said.
It added that the work experience and on-the-job training gained during the period of subsidised work would improve longer-term employment prospects.
The subsidy, to be implemented from April 1 2012, would run through the Pay As You Earn (Paye) system operated by the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
During his budget speech, Gordhan said youth possessed the awareness and ability to learn and looked to government for hope and assistance.
"They have hope, and look to us to give meaning to that hope. In response we must take measures to ensure that our young people can look forward to decent work in productive, competitive enterprises.
"It is time to celebrate and embrace the potential of our unemployed young, knowing that they are our future. How we meet this challenge will shape the quality of life that our children and their children will enjoy," he said.
On Thursday Gordhan urged businesses to take up the challenge and assist government in creating employment.
He said the debate needed to stop.
"Let's stop debating and talking. Let's go out there and get people and South Africans to work."
He said government could tell millions of South Africans that there was a formula, but that formula must be turned into action.
Gordhan said he would also like to see a culture of savings develop in South Africa.
"The amount given (for pensions), much more than that is not affordable by the state.
"We have got to get the saving system in South Africa right. That will be able to help people when they become older."
He said he hoped that people understood the importance of saving, and that they would start saving more.
He said another challenge for government was that of income generation versus social grants.
It was important that most South Africans received an income instead of a social grant, and creating employment would assist in ensuring that this happened.
He said government and business needed to find ways to support South Africans and non-governmental organisations.
South Africans were no longer interested in dialogue. They wanted action, he said.