Mantashe: Youth subsidy debate sterile

2012-05-21 17:12

Johannesburg - The debate between Cosatu and the DA over a youth wage subsidy is "sterile" because of its preoccupation with the terms of a subsidy, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday.

"We are not just looking at just the wage subsidy, we are looking at using the money to help young people acquire better skills and enter the labour market," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

Apprenticeship schools were half-empty, he said.

Government departments had commented that the young intern engineers they had hired had moved on to other companies.

They had also seen how employees could be sent by their companies for subsidised training in a specific field, and came out as artisans.

Mantashe said the debate had shifted from employing more people to decent work, and that had killed the issue.

"We must ensure that the budget is used to ensure the acceleration of the growth of young people into the labour market," he said.

Last week, the Democratic Alliance marched to Congress of SA Trade Unions headquarters, in Johannesburg, to call on the trade union federation to support a youth subsidy as a way of alleviating youth unemployment.

President Jacob Zuma announced the R5bn subsidy in Parliament in February 2010.

Cosatu believes a subsidy suggests that high wages and restrictive labour laws are behind youth unemployment, when improving basic education, skills development, the "green economy" and local procurement will help more.

It believes the subsidy will encourage companies to hire cheap young labour just for the subsidy, and will retrench older workers.

Last week, Zuma said the issue was still being discussed at the National Economic Development and Labour Council and final recommendations would be made to Cabinet.

The ANC said government departments should urgently use budgets meant for absorbing youth into the labour market.

It has also decided that an intra-alliance discussion on youth unemployment is urgent.

According to the DA's discussion document on the subject, the Treasury's proposal was that an employer-side subsidy would be available for new hires aged 18 to 29 for two years, and for existing workers aged 18 to 24 years for one year.

Companies would access a cash reimbursement through the SA Revenue Service payroll tax platform and target workers below the income tax threshold.

Legislative changes would be needed, but it was not yet known what needed to be changed.

The Treasury had also proposed additional measures, such as training incentives and job search assistance, to support the subsidy.

  • Christopher - 2012-05-21 17:24

    Well, Zille has askesd for a donation, lets see what she is capable of doing. We have to try.

  • Brian - 2012-05-21 17:37

    Cosatu believes the subsidy will encourage companies to hire cheap young labour just for the subsidy, and will retrench older workers. If this is Cosatu concern then the legal process can resolve that issue.

      Atholl - 2012-05-21 18:36

      The assumption that ::} ''the subsidy will encourage companies to hire cheap young labour ... and will retrench older workers. '' ... may yet be valid ... but for a different set of circumstances. If any threat to 'retrench older workers' exists ... then the threat is greater from 'Refugees from Africa' such as 2-3 million Zimbabwe Refugees. Does Cosatu know of this threat. for which evidence exists. No evidence exists of any threat from 'young labour' to 'older workers'

      Freddie - 2012-05-21 22:30

      How doff must any self respecting company be to retrench experienced staff members en masse for younger inexperienced staff/labour just for a subsidy. Watch how quickly those companies fold and this from a 30 yr old. If that's really Cosatu's concern then they really are short sited.

      Lynne - 2012-06-01 04:52

      Cosatu's thinking is based on the idea that a worker starts a job at 18 and does not update or improve his skills over his working career. Workers will such a lazy attitude deserve to be moved asside for younger more energetic people.

  • colin.dovey - 2012-05-21 17:55

    Apprenticeship Classes 1/2 empty? - Why not look at it another way: APPRENTICESHIP CLASSES ALREADY HALF FULL!!!!! Cosatu believes that the subsidy will encourage companies to hire cheap young labour just for the subsidy, and will retrench older workers!!! What a narrow-minded view - they should rather encourage the attitude that the older employees can TRAIN the younger set as THEIR apprentices, and be paid an extra fee for doing that..... Cosatu seems to be afraid of losing Union members, and the contribution they make to Union Coffers....what a short-sighted view they seem to have....

  • aiazmir - 2012-05-21 17:56

    Cosatu are running the ANC. Why announce a subsidy and then renege on this because of trade union disapproval (based on an outdated communist model)? Let the private sector determine who, how and when they will employ. Cosatu are blocking the private sector from employing young people. Is the ANC becoming a party for the aged and only labour controlled?

      Julio - 2012-05-21 18:18

      The ANC have no balls to stand up to COSATU, besides they need the COSATU´s members votes come election time. For the ANC/Zuma to benefit from the workers votes they have to tread carefully and play to COSATU´s tune. Politicians have no principles, they are in politics merely for their own benefit and not for the betterment of the country, that doesn´t only apply to South African politicians. I would vote for any party that would advocate the demise of all politicians. Hum!, wait, I think that is an oxymoron.

  • Atholl - 2012-05-21 18:47

    When it is discovered that the Biggest obstacle to a good idea and good plan is from the ones who decide for ------------. Govt the ones who benefit from ----------. Youth the ones who pay for the benefit----. Business ........ then ..... the ones who pay (Business) to the ones who benefit (Youth) will simply ignore the one who decides (Govt) and develop a new plan that does not require the one who decides.

  • jmasha3 - 2012-05-21 21:04

    Where are the setas?well anything that is going to help us as young people to acquire Skills and make a break in the Labour market is welcome as long as is not going to be manipulated by private sector and government officials for self-enrichment.Only critical skills, skills that we need in building a sustainable economy,skills that are in line with our economic vision as a country.

  • niel.burger.5 - 2012-05-21 21:50

    If my memory serves me correct,a school was opened near Olifantsfontein in the late 90's for exactly the same reason - skills training and the head - not sure -was Oupa Khoza - previous commander in the anc military wing! The school was built at a cost of almost R400 million and got state grants to the value of almost R100 million per year! Carte Blanche did an expose on this school! Almost a billion rand later,only about 130 had graduated - almost 800 should have 'graduated'!Hundreds of millins of rands of tax payers money went down the drain (wasted/stolen/tender fraud - take your pick) Is this going the same way,more money being wasted?

  • monnamme - 2012-05-22 09:44

    I must be at the opposite side here. Government yes like to employ skilled graduates and give them pity money for the hard work they do. I have been through that stage and many of my colleagues where you work for government and at the end of that year they do not employ you thereby going and sitting at home. Why cannot we take this money and build economy with it which will last the youth today and the next generation. All I am saying is both debates are set on a wrong tone and the shift should be about sustainability and job creation that last in which sense greater good and better human development is put to place. Let us build refinery plants, medicine making facilites, food processing, school, clinic and many government offices which are a core to huyman society like home affairs, social development, land reform and youth developemnt sectors in the villages, locations and urban areas and see if this sectors can not bring in sustainability, infrastructure development, socio-economic impact thereby impacting directly on the government job delivery and youth employment. Can they just share with 20Million so that I can achieve my business model I have developed which is going to employ at least 2000 youth in the first month.

  • Andricca - 2012-06-21 21:25

    Corporate South Africa to embrace transformation, failed to expand economy, why rewarding them with youth-subsidy knowing very well that they will distort it like they do with BEE & AA. Get real and start supporting social entrepreneurs and real local economic development initiatives and invest a lot on education and skills development IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE SOME CASH YOU JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT DO WITH & not trust unpatriotic corporate SA

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