Govt to deal with youth unemployment

Cosatu has vehemently opposed the move to pass the youth wage subsidy in Parliament.

Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan delivers the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement at the National Assembly in Cape Town on 23 October 2013. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Government has moved to put in place legislation that will help jobless young people find employment in spite of vociferous opposition from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

According to the latest report, of the millions of South Africans without jobs, the majority are young people.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says 94 percent of these young people don't have further education and about 80 percent have never worked or been unemployed for more than a year.

Gordhan tabled the Employment Tax Incentive Bill in Parliament during his medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament on Wednesday.

Suspended Cosatu Secretary-General Zwelinzima Vavi has referred to youth unemployment as a ticking time bomb.

But the federation has vehemently opposed the youth wage subsidy for fear it could displace the older workers.

The trade union federation has accused Gordhan of trying to force through his department's Employment Tax Incentive Bill.

But the Finance Minister says time for debate is over. The bill offers tax breaks for companies that offer jobs to young people between 18-29 years.

Gordhan says the bill is a step towards reversing the alarming high levels of youth unemployment in the country.

Meanwhile, almost 2,000 senior and middle management employees have been laid off from three top South African companies in recent months.

On Thursday, Eyewitness News revealed that Old Mutual is the latest to embark on retrenchment and severance package drives, as part of its restructuring process.

Pick n Pay and Pioneer Foods have also been cutting jobs.