Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s failure to mention the youth wage subsidy in his Budget Speech yesterday was a lost opportunity and a betrayal of the youth.
With youth accounting for 67.4% of the unemployed, the wage subsidy is our best hope for job creation among the youth. We need to put money and political will behind it.
But the Deputy Minister in the Presidency in charge of youth policy, Buti Manamela, is the same man who firmly opposed the youth wage subsidy when he was national secretary of the Young Communist League.
Minister Nene’s “sin of omission” is the key defect of the draft National Youth Policy (NYP) 2014-2019, upon which the DA has today submitted its comments to the Presidency, ahead of the deadline at the end of the month.
The NYP places far too much emphasis on the state as an employer of the youth. It does not focus enough on providing incentives and an enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs.
Its economic policy proposals will predictably achieve nothing of consequence.
As part of our detailed written submission, the DA believes that the NYP should unequivocally support the expansion of the youth wage subsidy. The policy should also propose:
An opportunity voucher scheme for eligible young South Africans. The voucher would provide funding to young adults who would like to start their own businesses or further their education and skills development and
A deregulation of labour markets so that youth can more easily find work. This means making it easier to hire young workers through amendments to the Labour Relations Act, enhancing temporary work, democratising labour negotiations, and easing the burden of labour regulations in the small business sector.
Finally, while the NYP is right to identify social ills – chiefly, substance abuse and the risky behaviors associated with it – as key focus areas alongside economic inclusion, it needs to provide an integrated framework for youth development.
This will rely not just on the role of the state, but on the contributions of citizens, communities and civil society working together in a “whole-of-society” approach.
Source : Democratic Alliance