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R11 billion allocated for jobs

The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is helping the country’s economy and people recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent unrest. 

The Presidential Employment Stimulus Package has allocated an additional R11 billion to support employment, as part of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently made this announcement when responding to questions during a sitting of the National Assembly.

He said initiatives such as the Basic Education Employment Initiative will continue, with the aim of creating jobs for the youth who have assisted in schools as part of the response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Support for small-scale farmers and workers in the early childhood development sector also forms part of the stimulus package.

“The Presidential Employment Stimulus Package has supported close to 700 000 job opportunities to date, and largely to young people,” he said.

The country’s unemployment statistics have highlighted the urgent need for the public and private sectors to be actively involved in implementing the ERRP.

Results for the second 2021 Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), recently released by Statistics South Africa, showed that unemployment has increased by 1.8%.

“The statistics released for the second quarter of this year are a reminder of our unemployment crisis and the extent of poverty in our country.

“While the interventions contained in our ERRP are necessary and significant, I will say now that they are not enough,” said the President.

He added that job creation can no longer be the mission of government alone.

“The time has now come for us to assess how far we have come, to reflect on the choices that confront us as a nation, and to take bold actions to achieve economic progress,” said the President.

Faster-growing economy

The ERRP is government’s blueprint for building a more inclusive equal, resilient and faster-growing economy.

President Ramaphosa said government will roll-out infrastructure, increase local production and expand the country’s energy generation capacity.

“We are implementing a range of structural reforms to ensure that we have a reliable power supply, cheaper data, abundant and clean water, efficient-running ports and good rail infrastructure.”

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe recently published revised regulations for energy-generating projects. 

“This was a defining moment in energy generation in our country. This will not only alleviate the immediate energy supply shortfall, but will also lead to massive investment in new projects and stimulate growth,” said President Ramaphosa.

Energy generation will provide certainty to investors that the current electricity challenges will be resolved. This will enable investors to confidently invest in new factories, mines and other initiatives.

President Ramaphosa stressed government’s commitment to ensuring that the National Ports Authority is an independent subsidiary of Transnet, which will improve the efficiency of port operations and enable greater private investment in port infrastructure.

Social Relief of Distress Grant

The violent unrest, that occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, dealt a further blow to the country’s economic recovery.

To support those who were left vulnerable by the pandemic and unrest, government reinstated the Social Relief of Distress Grant until March 2022.

“Thus far, close to 12 million people have applied for the Social Relief of Distress Grant and the South African Social Security Agency has started processing these and paying out,” said President Ramaphosa.

The interventions by government have sustained millions of jobs, prevented the closure of a number of businesses and provided relief to many vulnerable people.