DA urges KwaZulu-Natal to adopt youth wage subsidy
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko has called on KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize to implement the youth wage subsidy.
"I am here to offer a challenge to Mkhize," she said during a march in Pietermaritzburg on Monday..
"I want him to ask Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for his share to implement the youth wage subsidy," Mazibuko said.
Hundreds of Democratic Alliance youth supporters marched peacefully for the youth wage subsidy, without the clashes that marked a similar march in Johannesburg last month.
"As a young person I know there are many young people without jobs and opportunities to work. The youth subsidy needs to be supported," Mazibuko said.
She said the youth subsidy would address unemployment.
DA supporters were dressed in blue T-shirts and carried flags and placards reading: "youth wage subsidy now" and "we demand jobs today".
Mkhize sent provincial planning committee head Cyril Xaba to receive the DA memorandum on his behalf.
Last month, the DA marched to the Congress of SA Trade Unions' (Cosatu) headquarters, in Johannesburg about job losses and Cosatu's opposition to the youth wage subsidy.
The march turned violent when it was met by toyi-toying Cosatu members who allegedly stoned the DA supporters.
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 retrench older workers.
President Jacob Zuma announced the R5 billion subsidy in Parliament in February 2010.
On Monday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said moves were underway to accelerate discussions at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, particularly in June, which has been called youth month.
Until now talks have consistently deadlocked amid opposition from Cosatu.
"We have elevated the discussions to senior level with the constituents concerned to ensure that the discussions are concluded expeditiously," Patel said in response to a written parliamentary question from Democratic Alliance MP Kenneth Mubu.
"Based on progress, a report will be submitted to Cabinet to finalise the matter," he said.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize has responded by voicing his support for the youth wage subsidy.
“We have long expressed our support for the youth wage subsidy which was initially announced by the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan two years ago with an allocation of about R5-billion in the February Budget estimates.” Mkhize said.
“We have expressed our hope that this matter which is currently before the National Economic Development and Labour Council will be resolved speedily and recommendations made to national and provincial cabinet. We can safely say that KwaZulu-Natal is readying itself for the implementation of this initiative.”
“The KZN Broad-based Black Economic Advisory Council has also endorsed this youth subsidy approach, a move that we welcome as the provincial government.”