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Statement by Minister in The Presidency, Mr Mondli Gungubele during the announcement of Phase Two of the Presidential Employment Stimulus

Theme: Overview of the Presidential Employment Stimulus

I would like to welcome you all to this briefing, which will focus on two things: first, to reflect on what has been achieved in the first phase of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, and second, to outline our plans for the next phase.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus was launched by the President in October 2020 in response to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment. It is a crucial pillar of the broader Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The employment stimulus has supported a portfolio of programmes in three key areas:

• Public employment interventions;
• Livelihood support to sustain self-employment (such as early childhood development, the creative sector and agriculture); and
• Protecting existing jobs in vulnerable sectors.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus represents the most rapid expansion of public employment in South Africa’s history, and has been implemented with unprecedented speed and scale.

Eleven national departments were responsible for implementing programmes supported by the stimulus in Phase 1, coordinated by the Presidency. This represented a new way of working across government to achieve a common objective.

The main objective of the stimulus is to use public investment to create jobs rapidly and at scale to provide support to those who need it most. In addition to creating jobs and supporting incomes, the stimulus aims to support local economic recovery by providing a wider stimulus for consumer spending in poor communities.

It is important for us to note that employment recovery must ultimately be driven by growth in the private sector. Government is implementing a range of interventions, including structural reforms through Operation Vulindlela, to revive growth and support firms to create jobs. 

In the short term, however, public employment can provide meaningful work and a stable income, while keeping people connected to the labour market and giving them skills to enhance their employability later on.

More than 550,000 jobs and livelihoods have been supported to date as part of Phase 1, with an overall target of 694,120 opportunities. Several programmes are still in implementation, and we expect this number to increase further.

This represents more than half a million South Africans who have already benefitted directly from the stimulus, either through employment or by receiving a grant to sustain their own economic activity.

The first phase of the employment stimulus has provided valuable lessons for what we can achieve if we set our ambitions higher, if we forge strong partnerships with organisations across society, and if we work together across government.

Phase 2 of the employment stimulus has now commenced implementation, with a total of R11 billion allocated by National Treasury. This will support the continuation of some programmes from Phase 1, as well as a range of new programmes.

The recruitment of 287,000 young people as school assistants is already underway, and participants will be placed in November.

Phase 2 will include the establishment of a new Social Employment Fund, which will support work for common good in communities provided by organisations outside of the state.

Phase 2 will also support the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, including the establishment of the national Pathway Management Network, the revitalization of the National Youth Service, and a new model of skills training for unemployed youth linked to employment.

Unemployment is the single greatest challenge that we must confront as a society. The continued success of the employment stimulus reflects government’s commitment to address this challenge, and to support employment while the labour market recovers.

Our other colleagues, Minister De Lille and Minister Nxesi will further unpack the contribution of the Presidential Employment Stimulus to scaling up public employment and particularly youth employment.

We will also receive a detailed presentation from our colleagues in the Presidency on Phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus.

I thank you.