Give us half of youth subsidy – Zille

2012-05-21 15:08
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille challenged national government today to give her half of R5 billion set aside for a youth wage subsidy.

“We are appealing to the national government. If they can’t use it for the purposes intended there, because the ANC is allowing the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) to block policy implementation, well, give it to us in the Western Cape.

“We will show you in a pilot project just how outstanding this programme can be if implemented properly and we will also show that none of the negative effects that Cosatu is predicting will come to pass.”

Zille was speaking after a briefing on a youth wage subsidy programme being introduced in her province.

Economic development MEC Alan Winde said the programme, created in 2009, had placed over 2000 first-time job seekers into a six-month work position, with about 70% remaining in the position full-time.

The learners, between the ages of 15 and 34, received a R1 200 monthly stipend from the province, with many companies opting to top this up.

The national youth subsidy would, instead, allow the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to partially reimburse companies that paid wages to a young employee.

Zille said she supported the programme.

“We fully support national treasury’s version. Obviously we can’t do that locally because we do not have control over Sars.”

She called on President Jacob Zuma to make a decision on the programme.

“We are saying to the president: lead this country. Are you allowing Cosatu to hold you to ransom because you want to be re-elected in Mangaung? If so, you are letting down the youth.”

Zuma said recently that the youth wage subsidy was before the National Economic Development and Labour Council so it could consider all views and make final recommendations to Cabinet.

He said the challenge was to find common ground between the opposing views on the subsidy.

Violence erupted last Tuesday when the Democratic Alliance (DA) tried to march to Cosatu’s headquarters in Johannesburg.

The DA has accused Cosatu of blocking the subsidy’s implementation and costing young people jobs.

Cosatu maintains the subsidy will displace existing jobs and enrich employers.