President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the government’s new Social Employment Fund will create thousands of work opportunities in South Africa.
Writing in his weekly open letter to the public, President Ramaphosa said the fund formed part of the second phase of his Presidential Employment Stimulus, which was launched in October 2020 as part of a response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president said that the new fund has been allocated R800 million (US$51.6 million) and is expected to create 50,000 work opportunities.
“Applications are now open for organisations to become the fund’s Strategic Implementing Partners. These partners must be able to create work for at least 1,000 participants, and will be expected to reach the employment target within the first quarter of implementation.
“No less than 80 percent of the funds received needs to be spent on wages. This will ensure that the work supported by the fund is labour intensive, provides meaningful experience and delivers real social value. Social employment is not about work alone, but about creating high-quality assets and services for communities.”
President Ramaphosa said that public employment programmes are critical when not enough jobs are being created in the private sector.
As the economy starts to recover from the effects of COVID-19, public employment will fill a vital gap as companies get back on their feet and start hiring again, he said.
“Work opportunities under the Social Employment Fund will be part-time. This means more people can participate, and participants can be employed and have a secure income for longer. This gives participants the time to develop the structure, skills and networks associated with participation in work.
“Participants will perform an average of two days of work a week, and we want to encourage the private sector and the donor community to support these organisations, which will enable participants to be paid for more workdays a week.”
President Ramaphosa said that the fund is also expected to provide other benefits – including work experience and skills – which can improve a person’s chances of being employed, becoming self-employed or starting their own business. – Business Tech