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Govt to discuss priorities for 2013

Members of Govt are expected to focus on the youth employment scheme at their lekgotla.

Cabinet ministers and premiers are on Tuesday expected to focus on the youth employment scheme and whether to make teaching an essential service in their lekgotla. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Cabinet ministers and premiers are on Tuesday expected to focus on the youth employment scheme and whether to make teaching an essential service at their lekgotla.

The meeting, which is taking place at the Presidential guest house in Pretoria, is expected to see government leaders deciding on their priorities for 2013.

Discussions are expected to follow on from the ANC's National Executive Committee's (NEC) lekgotla over the weekend.

That means there is likely to be discussions about how to implement what the party now calls its Youth Employment Support and Incentive Scheme.

That could be an uncomfortable discussion for ministers from the unions, such as Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga may find discussions around making teaching an essential service more comfortable, as teaching unions have made life difficult for her department over the years.

If the proposal is approved, it will ban teachers from going on strike.

But the South African Democratic Teachers' Union has already described it as unconstitutional.

It says banning strikes will not solve the "real" problems in education.

'NO CLARITY ON YOUTH WAGE SUBSIDY'

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has described the ANC's youth employment scheme as vague, and has questioned why no clarity was given on the controversial youth wage subsidy.

The ruling party said there was no silver bullet to bring more young South Africans into the labour market, and proposed a series of interventions including internships and apprenticeships.

The ANC also said it was not ready to can the idea of the state sharing costs with business to offer positions to the youth.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said despite talk of agreements being reached, and there being no blood on the floor, they had not changed their position on the youth wage subsidy.

"We're against what we regard as a completely phoney attempt to create jobs for youth, but are keen as anybody to find genuine ways to open up job opportunities for young people."

The ANC's powerful NEC is taking a tough stand on violent protests, saying they must be met with an iron fist.

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