DA calls on the KZN ANC to implement the Youth Wage Subsidy
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance
11 June 2012
Note to editors: This is an extract of the speech that was delivered by DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP during the DA march to the office to the KZN Premier, Zweli Mkhize.
I have come to Pietermatizburg today to call on the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Zweli Mkhize, to put politics aside, and join hands with the Democratic Alliance on the most important issue of our time: youth unemployment.
Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape and leader of the DA, recently called for provinces to receive their proportional share of the R5 billion earmarked by the National Treasury to implement the youth wage subsidy.
This money presently sits idle in the fiscus when it could be changing young people’s life chances.
I will be handing over a memorandum to Premier Mkhize’s office, which the DA is inviting the premier to co-sign. Helen Zille has already signed it this weekend.
It is addressed to President Zuma, and asks him to use the power of his office to expedite the passage of his youth wage subsidy policy in order to alleviate the plight of hundreds of thousands jobless young people.
While President Zuma has dithered and bowed his knee to Cosatu, KwaZulu-Natal's Provincial ANC leadership has said the right things about the youth wage subsidy.
Echoing the no nonsense argument long presented by the DA, Premier Mkhize recently said:
“I support the youth wage subsidy. I do not believe it should be delayed”.
Last week, the ANC-led KZN provincial government called on the business sector to support the youth wage subsidy. The ANC KZN Executive again backed this call.
Using clear language on the youth wage subsidy, Premier Mkhize highlighted the unprincipled and unfounded policy position of the ANC alliance partner, Cosatu, when he stated:
“Our view is that there is enough protection under existing labour laws to secure the interests of current employees".
But words are not the same as action.
There are moments in the life of a country when its leaders are compelled to rise above party politics in the best interest of the country. This, I believe, is one such moment.
The Adcorp Employment Index for May, released this morning, indicates an annualised 3.1% slump in employment in May and, during the month‚ all sectors‚ all occupations and all employment types suffered declines in employment.
This underscores the growing crisis in unemployment, and the urgency with which the youth wage subsidy should be implemented.
Naturally, youth unemployment here is an issue close to my heart, as KwaZulu-Natal is my home province. I have seen how the tragedy of unemployment has affected the lives of many people in the communities in which I grew up.
KZN’s youth unemployment, which currently stands at over 25%, is a crisis which can no longer be ignored.
Just think of that statistic for one moment: that is one in four of all the young people you encounter in this province. It is one in four of the young people who have embarked on this march with us today.
For this province’s youth to have access to job opportunities, the provincial government must create the right conditions for the private sector and small businesses to prosper.
The KZN provincial government has spent scarce resources on programmes like the Youth Ambassadors which have largely been a source of ANC cadre deployment. Apart from politicising youth issues, the problem is that such programmes do not in themselves create job opportunities, not are they a measurable indicator of success in tackling youth unemployment.
My message to Premier Mkhize and the KZN ANC today is clear: put aside party politics, and join the DA in doing the right thing for South Africa’s youth.