Desiree van der Walt
DA Limpopo Provincial Leader
Today the Democratic Alliance handed over a proposal which, if accepted, could be the start of our provincial strategy to deal with the pressing problem of youth unemployment. This proposal for Limpopo’s Youth Wage Subsidy is aimed at providing unemployed youth, aged 18 to 35 years, with a Matric or equivalent qualification the opportunity to engage in a 6-month work experience programme. This programme, the Work & Skills Programme establishes learning and work placement opportunities to unemployed in Limpopo’s economic sectors so as to improve the future employment prospects of participants.
For an example, under the programme the Department of Economic Development and Tourism would provide a stipend of R1200 over a period of six months. Companies where learners are placed are encouraged to top up the stipend. In this line scenario the provincial government and business are collaborating to create job opportunities.
Currently we have massive unemployment in the Province estimated recently by Stats SA (Q1; 2012) to be at 21.9% and the discouraged work seekers in the same period stood at 424 000. The youth are the hardest hit. This means that a very urgent and multi-facet programme to ease youth unemployment is needed in Limpopo. The Youth Wage Subsidy approved by the President and Cabinet will be national’s government jurisdictional competence but its implementation is now stalled by Cosatu who are opposed to it.
In the meantime our youth is faced by high levels of unemployment and have no skills or experience needed to enter the job market. To overcome this problem, provincial governments need to be innovative and the Western Cape through its Work and Skills Programme is leading the way. This is the reason why we are proposing that Limpopo’s provincial government adopts a similar programme for our youth.
Our proposal is developed with the objective of giving unemployed youth the opportunity to gain skills and work experience in order to boost and improve their chances of full-time employment.
It is already a success in the Western Cape where the DA governs. We hope our provincial government will emulate the same and not be held at ransom by the unelected COSATU. The DA takes the plight of our youth very seriously and we will continue to suggest ways that could help overcome the problem.