DA Mxit Live Chat: 38 000 young people register for chat session on the Youth Wage Subsidy
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance
19 June 2012
Today, I engaged with young South Africans on the DA’s first online Mxit chat. This was an opportunity to hear their point of view and also answer some of the pressing questions that they have regarding youth unemployment.
38,000 people registered for the DA chat session, which was highly engaging and informative.
With over 10 Million active users in South Africa, and approximately 750 million messages a day, this is an extremely important social media tool to interact with young people.
The support for the youth wage subsidy was clear.
There were 4 key areas of discussion:
- Young people asked whether the subsidy will displace older workers. Despite COSATU’s deliberate attempts to scare people into believing this, it is not true. Older workers are protected by labour legislation and have years of work experience which give them a natural advantage in the work place. International examples as well as the DA’s own youth wage programme in the Western Cape prove that this ‘displacement’ argument has no merit.
- Many young people were unaware that COSATU remains the main stumbling block to the implementation of the subsidy. The policy was announced by President Zuma in his 2010 State of the Nation Address and budgeted for by Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan the following year. The only reason it was not implemented by Treasury’s deadline of 1st April 2012 is that COSATU has blocked it at NEDLAC.
- Many who participated were interested in finding out more about how this subsidy, if implemented, could benefit them. According to the National Treasury, the Youth Wage Subsidy would benefit an estimated 423,000 South Africans and create 178,000 new jobs for young people.
- There was keen interest in the DA-run Western Cape’s version of the Youth Wage Subsidy programme. Since 2009, it has resulted in 2500 jobs for young South Africans, with a retention rate of 70%. Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, has asked National Government for a portion of the R5 billion which has already been budgeted for the national programme, but which remains unspent because of Cosatu’s opposition to the policy implementation.
The DA’s first live chat on Mxit was a clear indication that young South Africans are interested in and support the Youth Wage Subsidy.
We will continue to use all means available to ourselves to make more South Africans aware of this policy, and its value to the fight against youth unemployment.