SA's drive to create millions of job opportunities will cost R10-billion over the next three years, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said.
South Africa’s drive to create millions of job opportunities will cost R10-billion over the next three years, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Tuesday.
President Jacob Zuma is under pressure from trade union allies, who helped to secure his presidency in April, to protect workers as Africa’s biggest economy in its first recession in 17 years.
“The presidency will be leading a special national jobs initiative, in which a range of new and revamped programmes will be launched to the estimated value of R10-billion over the three year medium-term expenditure framework,” Davies said in a speech.
Additional funding would be identified to increase the impact of the jobs initiative, as the country tried to create about 500 000 job opportunities by December, he said.
Zuma said in his maiden State of the Nation speech last week that the government would create half a million opportunities this year through an expanded public works programme, and four million, mostly temporary, jobs by 2014.
The global crisis has hit South Africa’s manufacturing and mining sectors hard. The official jobless rate is 23,5%.
Tempering expectations, Zuma on June 4 made clear there were limits to what the government could do.
“Since the implementation of our programme will take place in the face of the economic downturn, we will have to act prudently—no wastage, no rollovers of funds—every cent must be spent wisely and fruitfully,” said Zuma.
“The economic downturn will affect the pace at which our country is able to address the social and economic challenges it faces. But it will not alter the direction of our development.”
“If you are listening to what he is saying, it outlines how difficult the task facing this government is. How extremely limited their room for manoeuvre is,” said independent analyst Nic Borain. - Reuters