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All parties back youth wage subsidy

The DA’s Tim Harris did however complain that provisions were watered down.

All political parties in Parliament have backed new legislation aimed at helping young people find jobs. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - All political parties in Parliament have backed new legislation aimed at helping young people find jobs by way of a wage subsidy.

The Employment Tax Incentive Bill is a step closer to becoming law after being debated in the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon.

It provides for the government to subsidise part of the wages of young people who are given jobs.

The youth wage subsidy has been vociferously opposed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

But after three years of wrangling with its alliance partner, the ANC-led government has now moved ahead.

Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says it's crucial for the future of the economy that young South Africans without jobs get work experience.

"The employment tax incentive proposed in this bill can make a significant contribution in the fight against youth unemployment."

The Democratic Alliances (DA)'s Tim Harris complained provisions were watered down, but the opposition party still backed the bill.

"It represents some much needed hope for young unemployed South Africans."

Cosatu was lashed by opposition speakers for delaying the bill's implementation.