Many facets to proposed youth wage subsidy

The debate over youth wage subsidies has heated up since the ANC decided to support it ("ANC fired up over policy changes", Business, February 8). It is typically South African in that the protagonists talk in slogans and soundbites that are not followed by deeper expositions.

The scheme was proposed by the treasury several years ago, which has always been in the crosshairs for what its opponents regard as neoliberal economic prescriptions. The opposition Democratic Alliance immediately appropriated the proposal and used it for political gain, including the march on Cosatu House in 2012 that ended in scuffles.

Advocates of the scheme indicate that a few hundred people will benefit over three years. They underline that it is not a silver bullet but one in a series of programmes and pro-poor policy measures.

Opponents put forward several arguments. One is that international experience shows the scheme to be open to abuse by employers who retrench older workers and hire younger ones. The advocates concede this point, but argue that the benefits preponderate.

Another argument is that the scheme benefits employers and not the young jobseekers. Some even argue that the money should be paid directly to the young person in some form of a grant.

Employment incentives, industrial and export incentive schemes are not revolutionary. Neither are wage agreements. They have a small but significant effect on the life of the beneficiary. Taken together with other policy measures, they can make a difference. Together, government, labour and responsible businesses must monitor compliance and punish offenders. – Vuso Shabalala, adviser in the presidency

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Schools: Confusion rather than clarity and confidence reign

The way in which Angie Motshekga has handled the reopening of schools has caused many people to lose confidence in her

The backlogs, denials and future of testing Covid-19

The National Health Laboratory Services finally admitted to a bottleneck last week, after denying there were any issues since April. According to the service, the backlog of 80 000 tests started in the first week of May
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday