Government has committed R100 billion to support and create over 800 000 employment opportunities over the next three years.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this at a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament in a hybrid session on the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan aimed at steering the country back to desirable growth levels in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The employment stimulus package is one of four pillars that are part of the plan aimed at creating jobs and supporting livelihoods.
“We have committed R100 billion over the next three years to create jobs through public and social employment, as the labour market recovers.
“The employment stimulus is focused on those interventions that can be rolled out most quickly and have the greatest impact on economic recovery,” the President said.
The Reconstruction and Recovery Plan comes at a time when the country’s economy has taken an “unprecedented shock” that has left two million people out of work in the second quarter of this year.
The economy contracted by 16.4% when compared to the previous quarter – and National Treasury expects a significant shortfall in revenue collection.
Addressing Members of Parliament on Thursday, the President said at the heart of the employment stimulus is a new and innovative approach to public employment, which harnesses the energies and capabilities of the broader society.
He said the stimulus uses the considerable creativity, initiative and institutional resources that exist in society to respond to local community priorities.
“These activities will be locally driven, allowing participants to earn an income while contributing to their community.
“Traditional forms of public employment are being scaled up and new forms of public employment created to meet the immediate need.
“We are going to expand our natural resource management programmes, such as Working on Fire and Working for Water.”
The President said government is going to create 300 000 opportunities for young people to be engaged as education and school assistants at schools throughout the country to help teachers with basic and routine work, so that more time is spent on teaching, enabling learners to catch up on time lost because of the lockdown.
More than 60 000 jobs will be created for labour-intensive maintenance and construction of municipal infrastructure and rural roads.
To support the healthcare system, an additional 6 000 community health workers and nursing assistants will be deployed, as government proceeds with the implementation of the National Health Insurance.
The President said public employment will be expanded at provincial and municipal level, contributing to cleaner, greener and safer public spaces, and improved maintenance of facilities.
To assist young people who are unemployed to access these and other opportunities, government will soon launch the National Pathway Management Network as a platform for recruitment and other forms of support.
“The employment stimulus includes direct support for livelihoods and the protection of jobs in vulnerable sectors.
“Support is being provided to more than 100 000 early childhood development practitioners and to 75 000 small-scale farmers, whose production was disrupted by the pandemic,” said President Ramaphosa.
Furthermore, grant programmes are being expanded in the creative, cultural and sports sector, and funding has been allocated to protect jobs in cultural institutions, such as museums and theatres.
The President said more than 40 000 vulnerable teaching posts are being secured in schools which have lost income from fees.
“The implementation of the employment stimulus has already commenced. Each of these work opportunities is fully funded and ready for implementation.
“The speed and urgency with which we are expanding employment programmes demonstrates our commitment to support those who are without work.
“As these and other recovery measures are being rolled out, we need to do everything in our means to provide support to those in society, who continue to face hunger and distress.
“We will therefore be extending the Special COVID-19 Grant by a further three months.”