Labour minister promises over 700 000 jobs for South Africans

Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: File

Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: File

Published Apr 4, 2024


Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi has promised over 700 000 jobs for unemployed South Africans through the launch of the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Labour Activation Programme (LAP).

Speaking at a media briefing in Hatfield, Pretoria, on Thursday, Nxesi alongside Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and the acting director-general of his department earlier, unveiled the official launch of LAP and its endeavour to address the unemployment challenge in the country.

He said through the programme, training for employment and entrepreneurship programmes would be conducted through the collaborative efforts of a number of stakeholders in particular the private businesses.

The first roll-out will kick off in Gauteng on Saturday (April 6) at Nasrec, with the remaining provinces to follow suit also during the month of April.

Phase one of the project starting in Gauteng will see the launch of 55 projects, pegged to create as many as 500 000 South Africans training and employment opportunities across 22 sectors.

A staggering R23.8b billion has been set aside for the implementation of the 333 projects earmarked nationally, with the opportunities to run for 12 to 36 months.

Nxesi was quick to provide assurance that the projects had all been subjected to ‘meticulous quality assurance’ processes to ensure that they were compliant with the policy and legislation, all the necessary controls are in place, and also see to it that there is capacity and the necessary resources in place to produce real outcomes.

Further to that, employability interventions would, according to the minister, be delivered through contracts with the various sectors on the condition that they guaranteed jobs for beneficiaries with a minimum period of employment of one year post intervention.

“We added an element to say to our partners that, training people and putting them in jobs because training people for six months or a year, and then leaving them with nothing is not very helpful. The major element is the one we are talking about; that while they are being trained getting a stipend, afterwards that they must be linked to the companies to absorb them even if they do it for a year or two.

“The money invested in the plan will be recouped by the UIF through contributions and revenue generated from investments as has been the sustainability model of the fund,” Nxesi added.

Nxesi was commended by Lesufi, who remarked that it was the first time in the country’s history such significant strides had been made to address the challenges of unemployment in the country.

“I want to thank you because come Saturday, I will be taking 500 000 off the streets and back into class and I want to thank you for your efforts,” Lesufi said.