By Richard Adorsu-
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Accra Ghana- The Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) has – since its launch in October 2020 – created opportunities for over 1 million direct beneficiaries across South Africa.
Marking this important milestone, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “While the work of creating jobs continues, today we take a moment to celebrate over one million opportunities already delivered. These include jobs created, work experience provided, livelihoods strengthened, skills developed and small business owners supported and promoted. These opportunities have been a lifeline for many in a time of crisis and are supporting economic recovery in local economies, in townships, informal settlements and rural areas in every part of our country.”
The Presidential Employment Stimulus was launched by President Ramaphosa in October 2020 as part of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which set out a range of measures to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The priority of the ERRP is to achieve more rapid and inclusive growth in order to create sustainable jobs in the private sector, through economic reforms and other measures to support the recovery. While these measures take effect, government is committed to supporting employment and protecting those who are most vulnerable. The aim of the Presidential Employment Stimulus is to utilise public funding to create jobs and support livelihoods while the
labour market recovers.
The opportunities supported by the PES are in addition to those created through the Expanded Public Works Programme and other existing programmes. The implementation of the stimulus has involved a ‘whole of government’ effort coordinated by the Presidency, with 15 government departments as well as provinces and municipalities responsible for its implementation. It has also relied on strong partnerships beyond the state as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach.
Key achievements of the stimulus to date include the following:
The PES has supported the largest youth employment programme in South Africa’s history. 596,109 young people have been placed as school assistants across two cohorts, improving the learning environment in schools and reaching every community in the country.
• It has issued production input vouchers to 142,004 subsistence farmers, assisting them to resume and expand production after the disruptions of COVID-19 and strengthening food security.
• 54,000 Early Childhood Development practitioners have received support to ensure the survival and reopening of ECD centres.
• The Social Employment Fund is supporting community-based organizations to initiate ‘work that serves the common good’ in their communities. Together with the National Youth Service, which applies a similar partnership model, it has already reached 85,000 participants.
• In the creative Sector, over 32,000 people have been supported to produce movies, animations, books in indigenous languages, theatre productions, mural art and much more, supporting the sector in difficult times.
• Twenty-six universities have been supported to place graduates in work that provides them with experience relevant to their qualifications.
These and other programmes demonstrate the significant scale at which the PES has delivered employment and livelihood opportunities, mobilizing a wide range of stakeholders and actors and creating real social value in the process.
The President has called on the private sector to contribute to the success of the initiative, saying:
“Our task now is to expand and deepen the impact of this work. We call on business to hire these young people with newly-acquired work experience as they leave these programmes.”
For New Africa Business News Richard Adorsu Reports, Africa Correspondent