Govt calls for partnership to curb youth unemployment

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Nkosinathi Nhleko, Director General of the Department of Labour Nkosinathi Nhleko, Director General of the Department of Labour

The Labour Department has called on social partners to assist government in finding solutions to the issue of youth unemployment in the country.

It also wants more frank discussions to take place regarding the youth wage subsidy proposed last year by the National Treasury. 

“This is a global challenge that we have. Unemployment in general is a problem but now it affects the very productive sector of the economy, which is the youth and we need to find ways to address it,” Labour Director General Nkosinathi Nhleko said. 

Speaking at the department’s Budget Vote media briefing in Cape Town, Nhleko revealed that the department had managed to save more than 18 000 jobs in the past year in the textiles industries in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal.  

About 705 856 employees had accessed the Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits over the past financial year, with R5.6 billion having been dispersed.  

A further R660 million had been budgeted for various training and re-integration schemes over the 2012/13 - 2014/15 medium term expenditure period to assist the unemployed.  

To avoid retrenchments by struggling companies, Nhleko said more than R9 million had been spent on training allowances to participating employers and employees. 

“Most of the assistance for this initiative went to the beleaguered textile industry, automotive parts manufacturers as well as hospitality business.”

Up to 793 jobs at paper company SAPPI were spared, serving as an interim relief to boost the paper sector in general.

A total of 403 482 job seekers were registered, most of whom were captured in Gauteng (135 651), followed by KwaZulu/Natal (76 261) and the Western Cape (71 571).  

The department said “innovative changes” to the benefit structure of the UIF were under consideration and a bill to this effect would be introduced in due course to Cabinet and brought to Parliament thereafter. 

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant was expected to give further details on this in due course.


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