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LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 October 2006
PUBLIC HEARINGS ON YOUTH AND UNEMPLOYMENT: CONSIDERATION OF REPORT
Chairperson: Ms O Kasienyane (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Summary of submissions made during the Public Hearings on youth and unemployment.
The Committee had that morning received a report from Research Services summarising the submissions made during the public hearings on Youth and Unemployment. Research Services summarised some of the points that had been made. Most of those making submissions had expressed concern on the high levels of unemployment. The jobless growth in the economy was a further cause for concern. Many of the submissions had been critical of the role played by sector education training authorities, feeling that they were not reducing unemployment and that many of their programmes were not meeting targets. Members were concerned that the report did not appear to reflect all submissions. As it was clear that not all members had had a chance to study the report fully, they were requested to identify areas not covered. It was suggested that the Umsobomvu role in job creation must be examined more carefully, and that the Labour, Education, and Trade and Industry Portfolio Committees should co-operate in trying to solve unemployment. It was noted that jobless growth was possibly the result of implementing incorrect policies.
The Committee attended to other business, noting the forthcoming study tour to Cuba, an invitation from Umalusi, and the forthcoming briefing by the Department of Labour on 14 November. The Chairperson undertook to speak to Mr Blumenthal of the Services SETA in connection with a problem raised.
The Chairperson asked members if they had gone through the report summarising the submissions made by various organisations at the Public Hearings on Youth and Unemployment. Several members indicated that they had only received the full report that morning.
Ms J Watson, Research Services, indicated that the report was a summary of the submissions made during the public hearings. She highlighted some of the important points that were in the summary. She said that the analysis of the recommendations had indicated that most of those making submissions were unanimous in expressing concern on the high rate of unemployment. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU) and the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) had requested the Department to use the expanded definition of unemployment rather than the narrow definition that was used currently. Trade Unions had also identified the current trend of using contract workers in order to exclude them from employment benefits. The newly created jobs were mostly of low quality or in the informal sectors.
The Free-Market Foundation submission was opposed to the regulated labour market because it stifled job creation. It had suggested the introduction of exemption certificates that would protect employers from labour regulation. Ms Watson said that most submissions were highly critical of the role of the Sector Education Training Authority (SETA) for Skills development. They felt that the SETA had not played a significant role in reducing youth unemployment. The learnership programmes did not lead to employment.
The Unemployed Graduates Association submission questioned the jobless growth in the economy. The Association urged the Committee to oversee the role of Umsobomvu Youth Fund in job creation. The Business South Africa submission emphasised the role of small and medium enterprises in job creation and the need to create less stringent means to access funds. The submission from the Quadraplegic association had pointed to the discrimination they encountered in the job market. Organisations like Molo Songololo argued that the Department was not doing enough to curb child labour. There was also criticism that that former prison inmates were unemployable and were thus forced to a cycle of crime, and it was argued that a criminal record should not be used as a criterion to exclude former inmates from employment.
Mr M Louw (DA) cautioned Ms Watson that the report seemed partisan because some submissions were not included in the report.
Mr L Maduma (ANC) said that there were some gaps in the report. He added that government departments were not doing enough to train the youth.
The Chairperson urged that all members must take time to read to the report and identify any issues which had not been properly addressed.
Ms Watson said that the analysis of the report was meant to generate discussion, and members were not bound by it. She added that the Committee secretary would compile the final report.
Mr S Siboza (ANC) felt that Umsobomvu Youth Fund’s role in job creation should be scrutinised.
Ms L Moss (ANC) felt that the Labour, Education and Trade and Industry Portfolio Committees should co-operate in trying to solve unemployment.
Mr Maduma suggested that pension funds should be utilised to form co-operatives, thus alleviating unemployment.
Mr E Mntshali (ANC) said that the jobless growth was a result of implementing incorrect policies. He added that retrenched workers should be retrained in marketable skills.
The Chairperson urged Members to give priority to Committee meetings.
Cuban Study Tour
The Chairperson reported that the Committee did not have to accommodate all members on the forthcoming Cuban Study Tour. She proposed that new members should form part of the study tour to obtain international exposure.
Mr Louw questioned why the Labour Portfolio Committee had such a small budget compared to other Committees, who did not appear to have problems in accessing funds for foreign visits. .
The Chairperson said that the Chairperson’s Forum had problems with shortage of funds. She suggested that the Chairperson of the Chairperson’s Forum should be asked to explain the committee allocations to Members.
Mr Louw cautioned Members to check which countries were visited by which Committees before meeting Mr Doige.
The Chairperson suggested that there should be no further discussion until a meeting had been held with Mr Doige.
Invitation from Umalusi
The Chairperson announced that Umalusi had invited Members to their dinner function for the Annual Report dinner function. Umalusi would appreciate the Committee’s comments on the report.
Services SETA matters
Mr F Anthony (IFP) enquired what had transpired in regard to the problems expressed by the CEO of the Services SETA, Mr Ivor Blumenthal. The Chairperson replied that she would contact Mr Blumenthal and try to sort out the problem.
Briefing by Department of Labour
The Chairperson indicated that Mr Morotoba from the Department of Labour would be briefing the Committee on 14 November 2006.
The meeting was adjourned.