A new R800 million Social Employment Fund is expected to create around 50,000 jobs, President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed.
Writing in his weekly letter to the nation on Monday (15 November), Ramaphosa said the Fund is part of the second phase of his Presidential Employment Stimulus.
How Social Employment Fund will work
Ramaphosa explained that through the Social Employment Fund, the government will support non-governmental, community-based and civil society organisations as well as social enterprises to undertake work that “serves the common good and is not for profit” while creating jobs in the process.
“This could include work that promotes food security, healthcare, education support, greening the environment, better public spaces, community safety and action against gender-based violence,” he added.
“It is expected that the Social Employment Fund will create around 50,000 work opportunities. A total of R800 million has been allocated to the fund, which is being led by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and managed by the Industrial Development Corporation.”
The government has already opened applications for organisations to receive funding. Successful applicants will be known as the Fund’s Strategic Implementing Partners.
Requirements for Strategic Implementing Partners
To become a Strategic Implementing Partner, an organisation must be able to create work for at least 1,000 participants and will be expected to reach the employment target within the first quarter of implementation, the President explained.
“No less than 80 percent of the funds received needs to be spent on wages. This will ensure that the work supported by the Fund is labour intensive, provides meaningful experience and delivers real social value. Social employment is not about work alone, but about creating high-quality assets and services for communities,” he said.
The Fund’s work opportunities will be part-time. “This means more people can participate and participants can be employed and have a secure income for longer. This gives participants the time to develop the structure, skills and networks associated with participation in work,” the President said.
“Participants will perform an average of two days of work a week, and we want to encourage the private sector and the donor community to support these organisations, which will enable participants to be paid for more workdays a week.”
Ramaphosa launched the Presidential Employment Stimulus in October last year in a bid to create more public employment as the private sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
The Stimulus’ first phase created 550,000 jobs. Its key component is the Basic Education Employment Initiative, which created 300,000 teaching assistant jobs in its first phase earlier this year. Its second phase has also created around 290,000 jobs.