Cape Town - Details of the youth wage subsidy are still
uncertain, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.
He, however, hinted that provision for tax breaks to
employers could be made later in the year.
"Currently the details of the design are not
available," he told Parliament's select committee on finance, a day after
tabling the 2013 Budget.
Two years after first mooting the much-contested measure,
Gordhan said on Wednesday it would become reality.
But whereas he had initially mentioned R5bn in payroll tax
breaks for qualifying employers, Gordhan gave no figure this time.
"We have mentioned it in the budget review and in the
budget speech in order that for appropriation purposes, perhaps later in the year,
it is on the map," he said.
"And at this stage we can't talk about differences
between A and B, either in design terms or in allocation terms, because there
is no allocation," he told MPs who asked for figures and an explanation on
what the initiative involved.
"The number of R5bn... was interpreted to mean in
concrete rand terms. What in fact was intended was that this was a tax
expenditure of R5bn.
"It will be a tax loss the minute it actually comes
into effect and legislation is passed in Parliament. We will have a more
concrete feel for when implementation actually comes in."
The minister had suggested legislation would be brought to
Parliament by mid-year.
The Democratic Alliance welcomed the return of the youth
wage subsidy. DA finance spokesperson Tim Harris said calling it an
"incentive" was simply the minister's way of appeasing the labour
movement opponents of the measure.
Asked what had changed to resolve the political battle,
Gordhan said: "In political conditions, nothing that I am aware of except
that the dialogue of the Nedlac process has produced an outcome, and I think
that there is a recognition that we need to find each other in a constructive way
to solve an important problem."
Trade union federation Cosatu had argued the subsidy would
see employers fire older workers to hire young ones, in order to secure the tax