Cape Town - Trade union federation Cosatu on Wednesday welcomed the launch of the government's jobs fund, but reiterated the warning that the country was "sitting on a ticking bomb" of millions of unemployed young people.
"It is very encouraging to see the government putting its money where its mouth is," Cosatu said in response to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
's announcement on Tuesday that the new jobs fund was open for business.
The fund will make R9bn in grants available over the next three years, with R2bn earmarked for the current financial year.
It is expected to target the private sector through a grant funding system that will see business match each rand from the fund in a 1:1 ratio. The scheme will be managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Cosatu urged private companies, NGOs and government entities "to waste no time" in lodging proposals for creating job opportunities.
"Cosatu notes the commitment by a Treasury official that they will closely monitor how the money is spent. We must make sure that there is no abuse and that every cent of the money is used solely for job creation."
It also warned about the need to stick to job-creation targets.
"Through the new growth path, the government has set itself the target of creating 5 million jobs over 10 years.
"It hopes that this new fund will (create) 150 000 jobs this year, just 3% of that target.
"The (jobs) fund, important though it is, should not divert attention from the many other measures which will also be necessary to achieve the remaining 97% of that 5 million target.
"We are sitting on a ticking bomb. Unless we solve this problem of mass unemployment, particularly finding work for young people, there will be a tsunami of revolt from people who see no hope and no prospects of ever getting to live a decent life," it said.