DA: Zuma fears tough choices on youth

2012-05-16 12:26

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has accused President Jacob Zuma of being afraid to make the tough choices that would benefit many unemployed young people.

In a reply to a DA parliamentary question, Zuma confirmed that the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) remained the stumbling block to the implementation of the youth wage subsidy, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Wednesday.

"The president also said government is still seeking trade union buy-in for the youth wage subsidy that would create more than 420 000 new jobs.

"This is a president who is afraid to make the tough choices that would benefit so many unemployed young people," Mazibuko said.

Zuma, in his written reply, said discussions on the youth wage subsidy had taken place within the economic sectors and employment cluster, and consultation with social partners began at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on May 10 last year.

"Social partners continue to discuss the youth employment incentive at Nedlac. As such, final proposals have yet to be made to cabinet," he said.

Cabinet did not intend to abandon the policy. However, discussions with social partners, alongside the public comments received on the discussion paper, would inform a revised document and the design of the proposed youth employment incentive.

Zuma said cabinet would respond to the final proposals made.

The government had undertaken to resolve the concerns raised by social partners, in particular organised labour, in Nedlac.

This included outlining the role of the youth employment incentive as an important pillar of the economic development department's multi-pronged strategy to confront youth unemployment, and adjusting features of the proposed incentive to address the specific concerns of social partners.

Zuma said there had been a number of valid concerns raised with the youth employment incentive, including the potential displacement of older workers by younger workers, the age of those potentially qualifying for the incentive, and the duration of probation.

The government's discussions with social partners were aimed at mitigating these concerns.

The rules, design, and monitoring of a youth employment incentive would be critical to actively reduce the risk of negative unintended consequences, including potential displacement, and help maximise net job creation.

The government would focus on accelerating social dialogue and finding satisfactory solutions to the valid concerns that social partners had raised, Zuma said.

Mazibuko said if the subsidy had been implemented by the original deadline of April 1 2010, around 300 000 young people would have had jobs by now.

"And, contrary to the claims of Cosatu, this would not have been at the cost of existing jobs. So what is the hold-up? Why does the president need to seek further buy-in from Cosatu?" she asked.

Cabinet was not bound to wait for the Nedlac process to be concluded before implementing the subsidy.

"(Zuma's) government introduced this policy. His finance minister budgeted R5bn for it to be implemented. He cannot sit on the fence any longer. He is the president, (Cosatu secretary general) Zwelinzima Vavi is not," she said.

"President Zuma must explain to the unemployed youth of South Africa why he is choosing Cosatu's interests over theirs."

So far, Zuma had chosen to put the politics of the tripartite alliance ahead of the interests of millions of unemployed South Africans, said Mazibuko.

"Instead of showing leadership, he has chosen votes at Mangaung. South Africa cannot wait any longer. The time for President Zuma to act in the interest of the unemployed is now," she said.

  • tanya.retief - 2012-05-16 12:31

    Why is Cosatu (and our President) afraid of empowering our youth?! "President Zuma must explain to the unemployed youth of South Africa why he is choosing Cosatu's interests over theirs." Yes, please explain Mr President?!

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-16 12:38

      How? By taking your job when you are older and giving it to the youth which are cheap labour? That what they did with the whites remember? There was not enough cake for everyone and they simply took from the whites and gave to the blacks. In this instance the DA's proposal will result in the cake being taken from the middle aged and giving their jobs to the cheap young labour. DINK VROUMENS :(

      Christopher - 2012-05-16 12:46

      @Kobus...most whites have to run their own businesses anyways as there is no jobs out there for the white person. We in turn give work to the young black youth. This will benefit the majority of South Africans,not having this burden of unemployment, thereby you get thieving, murders etc. Let them make something instead of nothing.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-16 12:49

      No kobus, there is absolutely no evidence of this happening. Youth Wage Subsidy is implemented in several countries and has proven VERY successful. COSATU's concerns are unjustified and unproven.. They have another agenda, i.e. membership

      Serame - 2012-05-16 13:02

      Its simpy Tanya..The matter is still on the Nedlac tableto ensure that a inclusive decision that would have less comebacks is made...All loopholes must be curbed before it can be rolled out..Dont get mw wrong..its a great initiative,but if handled would have a lot of camebacks or even owrse..Collapse...I also agree with KOBUS on his view..the employers will be rich over night by firing the older staff and recruit youth for reasons assciated with Subsidy..In short Government will be buying jobs for anyone with the age 18-35 and once u're over shud be fired as you would no longer be viable for the business..and If Cosatu didnt have peoples interests at heart..they would have agreed to this and maximise their profits through the same subsidy system..But Cosatu is a movement with strong social concience and NOT FOR THE MONEY...VIVA COSATU

      Alan - 2012-05-16 13:09

      @Tanya - Simply put - The Govt. is very scared of Cosatu (EG Taxis and Toll Roads).. The president appears to also try his best to not make decisions on volatile issues, but to rather try to stay out of the limelight. With falling ratings, this is understandable - however - the inabilty to make decisions and follow through with tough actions has also caused his ratings to fall to a new low. Cosatu holds the country to ransom with the workforce (even though their actions are usually counter-productive to the workforce). So for the president - he could be trying to make his decision based on the choice that will lose him the the least number of votes (whilst he is still trying to stay in power). A good President should make the decision based on the best interests of the population. However - Vavi is very unpredictable - and changes direction like a chameleon changes colour, and he is a threat to the presidency. It's all called 'dirty S.A. politics' where the name of the game is power to individuals instead of Service to the Nation.

      Jason - 2012-05-16 13:11

      Fortunately we have extremely strict labour laws - try fire someone because they're over 35 and see how far you get. On the other hand businesses may be inclined to take on subsidised youth instead of adults but lets face it, if you're over 35 and can be replaced by an 18yr old with no experience, then you should have made a better career choice.

      armandt.heine - 2012-05-16 13:14

      @kobus.hattingh.5, I think you are the one that should think, what stops any company from laying off older people now and employ a younger person for half the salary??? BECAUSE THE OLDER GUY HAS THE EXPERIENCE!!!! So the company keeps him. With the subsidy companies would be able to afford more workforce hence giving the young people WHO DOESNT GET A LOT OF MONEY BECAUSE OF EXPERIENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE, a chance to gain experience and entry to a company. So dink jy bietjie vir 'n slag,

      Alan - 2012-05-16 13:18

      @Jason - in the real world, there is no way you can get close to the productivity out of an inexperience 18year old when compared to somebody who has been productive for many years. It's like the BEE initiative - great in principle, but a hopeless failure in practice. Without proper education, you cannot run a competetive business. and the way the world is changig, and with the spiralling speed of change -an unskilled worker will soon be completely redundant.

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-16 13:31

      armandt.heine, ek sien nog hoedat jy die trekpas kry na se 20 jaar om plek te maak vir n jong Sipho en Thabo wat vir die helfte minder as jou salaris sal werk omdat hulle n subsidie kry. Sommer n lekker AA en BEE op dieselfde slag. En moet maar nie te swaar leen op arbeidswetgewing nie want dit het baie blankes nie in die verlede gehelp nie.

      Jason - 2012-05-16 14:04

      @Alan - that's exactly what i'm saying

      Alain Alexander - 2012-05-16 14:07

      @kobus... Open your eyes, Cosatu is the main reason to limited cake!

      Alan - 2012-05-16 14:13

      yeah - I got it Jason . just an affirmation.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-16 12:35

    The DA is going to spark a fire which they wont be able to control.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-16 12:49


      Deon - 2012-05-16 13:03

      The Finance minister wants it too, budgeted R5b for it.

      Alan - 2012-05-16 13:11

      Kobus - you have some very odd views and comments.

      Christopher - 2012-05-16 13:22

      Alan, Kobus has has both his hands in the cake. Parents or someone benefitting from exploiting the poor South African thats for sure...

      mandla.shikwambana - 2012-05-16 13:33

      Kobus shame 2u.dis is anc u 2lkng abwt recheck ur statement.

  • Jason - 2012-05-16 12:38

    Let them eat cake

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-16 12:42

      Sorry but there is only crumbs left. :)

      Press - 2012-05-16 13:44

      Not if you are part of the COSATU cabal . . . . It is just necessary to entrench your position against the unemployed youth to ensure cake eating sustainability . . .

      Alan - 2012-05-16 15:56

      Juju got to the cake first ... none left. Maybe Winnie has a koeksuster?

  • Christopher - 2012-05-16 12:40

    Calling for the president of South Africa, is there anyone out there?

      Alan - 2012-05-16 13:11

      shopping overseas maybe? Lets' do a jet count....

      Alan - 2012-05-16 15:56

      yip = 3 jets short....

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-05-16 12:46

    Perhaps the prez does not think its necessary for the youth to be gainfully employed. After all, he isn't.

      Alan - 2012-05-16 13:12

      he is interested in another term in office. Still a little gravy left....

  • Andrew - 2012-05-16 12:46

    Zuma is no leader but a fraudster who is trying his best not to face his day in court. We are sitting on a powder keg because of Cosatu trying frantically to protect its turf. The sooner some leadership is shown by the ANC the better and let Cosatu depart from the alliance and then we will see their real support.

  • NrGx - 2012-05-16 12:49

    COSATU - does it say anywhere that the jobs created for the youth will be formed from current jobs that are being filled by the elder people. NO! the simple fact is people WILL employ a more skilled worker, not replace someone just because of cheap labour. YOU might not understand this, but that is just plain bad business. Be honest, you are just afraid you will lose union members.

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-16 13:44

      That is their real concern.

  • Iscariot - 2012-05-16 12:57

    as a result of our loyalty to the party the current situation is that - the previoulsy disadvanted communities, the youth and the people with disabilities have inherited a legacy characterised by stunted development, abject poverty, no provision of social amenities and deficiencies in the development and job creation of the majority of the people. senzeni nahhh.

  • Jason - 2012-05-16 13:05

    I wonder what exactly COSATU are afraid of? There is an agenda here that we are not aware of. I don't get it - surely more employed people will mean a greater increase in union membership? I don't buy his excuse that it will take jobs from older workers - He is working under the assumption that the number of jobs is finite. Have a bit of faith Vavi, job creation is possible.

  • Christopher - 2012-05-16 13:25

    Cosatu rules shower man[zuma}\r\nWho's south african president \r\nAnswer Sdumo Dlamimi deputy vavi

  • Robin - 2012-05-16 13:31

    Vavi is just pissed that this is not his idea..

  • Tsietsi - 2012-05-16 13:33

    Why don't they pilot it in one province first, see how it works out, refine it, and finalize it rather than reject it outright. Some people are not working and time is running out for them. I think COSATU is irrational on this one. Some issues will be negotiated when people already have jobs and earning something. The less said about Zuma the better.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-05-16 13:53


      Jason - 2012-05-16 14:07

      You do know what the CAPS LOCK key is right?

      Singatha - 2012-05-16 14:27

      I wish it was so(youth consulted),but instead they were summoned to the battle of Braamfontein,to fight excatly what is supposed to try and give them a better life.Yes i remember reading the calling of the ANCYL and YCL to defend "FORT COSATU".

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-05-16 14:09

    No tough choices just a refusal to implement as Mangaung is more important than bringing change that benefits all

  • Jim - 2012-05-16 14:11

    This is a textbook example of why Zuma should not be the President of South Africa as he is totally incapable of taking any decisions which may "offend" one or more of the parties that he is hoping will re-elect him as ANC president in December this year. The facts are as follows: -Policy originally proposed by Zuma's Government (not the DA) with an implementation date of April 2010. -Budget of R5.0bn allocated by the same government. -We are now in May 2012, more than two years after the original implementation date, with the targeted unemployed youth rate greater than 50% and growing by the day, but nothing has been done because a trade union federation believes (without any evidence) that older experienced employees will be summarily fired and replaced by inexperienced younger people. This concept may make sense to Cosatu who seem to live in some Marxist/Leninist dream world but it certainly does not make any sense to business leaders in South Africa who are already clearly indicating that a lack of experience and skills in the workforce is a serious threat to business in general. Mr Zuma, time to get off your butt and make some of the decisions you are employed (and paid) by the citizens of South Africa, including the unemployed youth, to take in the interests of the country that you are supposed to be governing. If you do nothing the problems will only increase and bring forward the probability of an "Arab Spring" event in South Africa. Stop the talk shop NOW please.

      Alan - 2012-05-16 14:16

      Yip! And as for older workers being replaced by younger - remember too that the higher earners are the tax base for SA, and the Govt. aint gonna shoot itself in the foot on that one too easily.

      Singatha - 2012-05-16 14:35

      Spot on!!The tripartite alliance, honestly, is paralysing this country.

  • Pat - 2012-05-16 14:11

    All those DA T-shirts looked brand new...everything about this march was a circus...marchers transported in Gautrain, 12 year old as a know what Godzille, Zech De Beer failed so did Tony Leon...their mistake...taking blacks for granted. You going to fail 2 and no 'refugees' with new T-Shirt will be around you.

  • Luvhani - 2012-05-16 14:12

    Lindiwes approach to politics is theoritical nt practical and if the DA is banking on the youth subsidy policy to increase votes again they r being naive. Vavis job is to protect the interests of cosatu members nt the youth and his reservations r valid. Most of cosatu members r on contracts wit no renewal guarantee, and I for one forsee this subsidy becoming profit for some companies as they wil chose nt to renew some contracts of their older workers, use the youth to qualify 4 subsidy and in so doing cut costs and cosatu members suffer.

  • Singatha - 2012-05-16 14:13

    HA!!! Excatly my point,he's cosy'ing up to the unions,and 2012 being the elective conference year and stuff the youth.How utterly selfish of politicians and Pres.Zuma in particular.

      givenmasanabo - 2012-06-20 21:33

      whether is right or wrong we always complain

  • Singatha - 2012-05-16 14:19

    I'm inclined to believe that COSATU by definition of "older worker" = subscription fees,hence the protect the coffers at all costs stance.Besides it's not easy to lay off people(young & old) in this country courtesy of our current labour relations act,so i don't forsee this en mass lay-offs of "older workers" they are so spooked about.

  • Allan - 2012-05-16 14:20

    Zuma fears tough choices! the only choice he does not fear is who will be his next wife!

  • nhlokza - 2012-05-16 14:29

    DA and ANC are the same.They always like to play with the emotions of the unemployed youth and the general public by seeking to carve a dubious niche at the expense of the electoriates.

  • Hermann - 2012-05-16 14:43

    Zuma is a chair figure, Vavi runs the country.

  • Joy - 2012-05-16 14:43

    DA don't pretend as u care about unemployed youth instate u only care of their vote, you are the opportunist. Mazibuko must stop acting like a golden girl with dat monopoly of using de poor.

  • Sonwabile Langa-Nomvalo - 2012-05-16 15:39

    I don't like ANC, favour DA because it's the only alternative we have...but, its leaders must stop being childish in trying to score political points in attempts to recruit the majority potential voters...they must simply come with what they could offer if they were to be voted for, and not attack and tell us what we already know about the ANC lead government.

      Alan - 2012-05-16 15:59

      this was a great way for the DA to highlight their stance, and to point out the inability of the Govt. to make a decision and move fwd because cosatu is a threat to them.

  • Sid - 2012-05-16 16:06

    If this initiative CREATES opportunities without DISTRIBUTING the existing opportunities then I'm all for it. This notion of redistribution can only function as long as there is equity to distribute. Ie: If everyone eats from the same cake eventually the cake will be eaten, and you'll have to bake a new one. We need more BLACKS to bake cakes!!! Either the platform for blacks is not there, or they are not using the existing platform to launch and CREATE new opportunities. I don't know which is the case, but we need ENTREPRENEURSHIP not RESTRICTION on how we do business. NON-RESTRICTIVE TRADE AND LABOUR, for everyone's sake.

  • Brendon - 2012-05-16 17:10

    The government and our favourite friends in COSATU had better wake up and realise that the unemployed youth are a ticking time bomb with 48% of them unemployed, we may sit with an 'African Spring' if we're not careful - Zuma better wake up and realise that him and his highly competent lot will be dealing with unprecidented uprisings in the next few years if he doesn't pull finger! Well I suppose drunk with power and no back bone - I'm guessing the second coming will occur before our highly respected cadrés gets the message.

  • sajitha.khan - 2012-05-17 06:37

    Of course COSATU is very relevant here, let's not assume all of us are naïve, its members are tax payers! Wat ever R5b was just a projected budget that need to be sucked from tax payers. With current economic situation- high petrol prices and low wages how much more of tax need to deducted to fund this project? I don't like anc but DA shouldn't think we are all that dumb

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