The National Treasury has allocated an additional R11 billion to the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP), which created 550,000 jobs in its first phase.
This is according to Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, who briefed the media on the programme’s Phase 2 on Thursday (14 October).
New programmes in Phase 2
“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,” Gungubele said.
“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.”
One of the new programmes in Phase 2 is the 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 revitalisation of the National Youth Service, and a new model of skills training for unemployed youth linked to employment,” Gungubele explained.
Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan
President Cyril Ramaphosa launched PESP in October 2020 as part of the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. It was aimed at providing public employment in the short term while the private sector recovers from the pandemic.
A key initiative in the PESP was the recruitment of around 300,000 young teaching assistants. In late September, the Department of Basic Education opened applications for phase two, which seeks to employ 287,000 teaching assistants.
Speaking during the media briefing, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said many of PESP’s programmes in Phase 1 had an explicit focus on youth employment.
“In Phase 1, 84 percent of participants across all programmes – including public employment and livelihoods support – were young people below the age of 35, and two-thirds of all participants were women,” he said.
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure was also able to expand its own employment programmes in infrastructure with additional funding in Phase 1, Minister Patricia De Lille added.
This includes employment of 1,886 graduates in the 2020/21 financial year and 1,296 graduates in the current financial year.