Presidential employment initiative project receives major boost

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s enthused ambition to funnel much-needed jobs into the South African economy has received a major shot-in-the-arm with an additional R12.6 billion unveiled in the 2020 Mini-Budget.

Delivering the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, colloquially called the Mini-Budget, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the allocation was in addition to the R19.6 billion announced in the Supplementary Budget in June, in response to the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Initially, the allocation was for job creation and protection. Of this amount, R6.8 billion is allocated to the Department of Social Development to fund the extension of the special COVID-19 social relief of distress grant for three months until 31 January 2021.

“An amount of R12.6 billion is allocated for presidential employment interventions to address unemployment, especially as it affects youth,” the National Treasury said in the 2020 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.

Mboweni approved the allocation of the funds in terms of section 6(1)(a) of the Appropriation Act (2020), as amended by section 8 of the Adjustments Appropriation Act (2020).

A breakdown of the allocation for presidential employment interventions illustrates a National Treasury Provincial equitable share allocation for the employment of assistants in public schools to the tune of R6.9 billion.

“Posts at government-subsidised independent schools will also be supported,” reads the document.

In the same breath, R393 million has been set aside for the recruitment of 2000 health outreach team leaders, 1 250 community health workers, enrolled nurses and auxiliary nurses.

This is in addition to the R213 million added to the HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria and community outreach grant that also covers recruitment, training and procurement of personal protective equipment as well as backpack kits for existing and recruited community health workers and outreach team leaders.

Social Development Support for early childhood development and social workers, and the appointment of registration support officers will receive R588 million.

This was an additional R496 million to the early childhood development grant targeted at providing unemployment risk support to 83 333 to related workers for six months and top-up payments to the 25 500 already employed to take on compliance support duties.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development interventions regarding the retention of self-employed subsistence producers and support for food value chains has been allocated R1 billion, while the creation of jobs in the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ entities will amount to R1.9 billion.

Just over R665 million has been set aside for the creation of employment in the sports, arts and culture and heritage sector. This allocation will also support current cultural, creative and sports institutions.

In the transport sector, R630 million has been assigned for the creation of 50 000 jobs for provincial roads maintenance through the S’hamba Sonke Programme.

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