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Meeting reportLABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 February 2007
PUBLIC HEARINGS ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: RESEARCH REPORT
Chairperson: Ms O R Kasienyane (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Report on Labour hearings on youth unemployment by Parliamentary
Information Services: Research
Audio Recording of the meeting
A parliamentary researcher, presented key issues emanating from public hearings on youth unemployment held by the Committee. The Committee raised a number of propositions in dealing with the challenges of youth unemployment and casualisation. It proposed that there should be new legislation that will deal specifically with casualisation, including time limits. It also heavily criticised the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and other youth organisations for their poor performance in tackling youth unemployment. The Committee also expressed its disappointment in the performance of Sector Education and Training Authorities to develop skills.
Ms Joy Watson (Parliamentary researcher) presented her summary of key issues emanating from public hearings on youth unemployment held by the Portfolio Committee on Labour
The key issues identified were:
• Skills development
• Casualisation of employment
• Discrimination in the work place
• Expansion of SMMEs
• Youth development
• Youth structures
• Young people and access to credit
• Labour legislation
• Co-operation between different role-players
• Social security
This was followed by an analysis of the key recommendations made (see document).
The Committee having heard the summary of the key issues, made the following comments and recommendations:
Ms H Weber (DA) said that regarding skills development and youth unemployment, employers do not employ young people because they argue they did not have experience; all they had were technical skills and qualifications from higher learning institutions. They argue that young people are paid huge wages but they did not fulfill their obligations because they lacked experience. She also mentioned that employers are business-driven, and that is why they look for people with 5 to 10 years of experience.
Mr G Anthony (ANC) suggested that the Committee should look at the South African economy and probe which skills the economy needs, so that they developed those skills for young people. In regard to Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) he proposed that after the necessary skills had been identified it would be possible to determine which SETAs were no longer needed.
Mr M Nene (ANC) said that in-service training and mentors in companies could assist new employees, especially those with qualifications with no experience. He added that in doing so they could manage the issue of employing graduates.
Ms S Rajbally (MF) asked whether people were trained in learnerships as the market demanded or not. She proposed that the Committee should look at that aspect.
Mr E Mtshali (ANC) criticised the tendency of employers to employ people for 3 to 6 months on a casual basis. They could not claim to be working and could not plan their future.
Mr M Mzondeki (ANC) proposed that a study should be undertaken to probe the programmes of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund to determine whether they are effective or not. He also proposed that Community Based rehabilitation should be introduced nationally and that sign language should be compulsory in work places.
Mr C Lowe (DA) proposed that the Departments of Labour and Education should work closely together and suggested that students should be encouraged to go to technical colleges where they could develop skills in artisanship because university did not develop skills or practical work. He also mentioned certain SETAs that were doing really poorly and those who just meet deadlines with no substantial work.
The Chair announced that at the begging of the next quarter they would call the Chief Executive Officers of SETAs to find out who were monitoring youth programmes.
Mr Mahlaba (ANC) asked in regard to learnerships whether people left them when they got jobs or when the programme ended.
Ms Rajbally complimented Mr Mahlaba’s question and proposed that those conducting learnerships should report to the Committee and show evidence that their skills are in demand in the market.
Mr Mzondeki insisted that the Committee needs information on how companies conduct their in-service training and added that there were many people with certificates from learnerships with no jobs. He proposed that those trainers should market their trainees and find jobs for them.
Ms Rajbally proposed that the Committee look at the legislation and see if there is a section that limits the period of casualisation.
Mr Anthony proposed that the Committee should have powers to draft a policy, for example if a person has held a position for a certain period that person should be made permanent. He also suggested that they should do away with casualisation.
Ms Weber proposed that employers should get a tax incentive. She argued that there is a perception that employing disabled people cost money because employers have to build bigger toilets and elevators for them, or else they should introduce a system of repayment where the employers can claim back the money they used to build the necessary infrastructure for disabled people.
Mr Mzondeki proposed that the Committee should call the companies that are notorious for casualisation to account for violating labour legislation.
The Chair insisted that something should be done on casualisation. The Committee should call for public hearing or introduce a new policy.
Mr O Mogale (ANC) seconded the idea of introducing legislation on casualisation and motivated that there were people who had worked for 10 years as casual workers at Shoprite and other retail businesses, with no medical aid and life insurance.
The Chair said that employment brokers or agencies perpetuated the casual workers crisis, and that those agencies needed to be monitored.
Ms J Watson (Parliamentary researcher) said that there were recommendations on handling casualisation and some of them were to develop a policy that addressed this issue and to run a public awareness campaign.
Mr Mogale proposed that they should develop a policy first and market that policy by using campaigns to make the public aware about the policy that addressed casualisation.
Ms Rajbally insisted that there should be a time limit on casualisation.
Mr Mzondeki said that the youth stated that they did not know how to access capital to implement their business plans. He also proposed that the Committee should assist young people to get information about agencies that can help them.
The Chair asked how young people could ever establish SMMEs if they did not know where to get funding.
Mr Mtshali said that there was corruption in youth organisations. He argued that those with good business plans were told that their plans were missing, and the officials then sold those plans to other people and gave them money. He added that credit bureau impoverished people. He insisted that the Umsobomvu Youth Fund must report on where they were using their funding because the majority of the youth did not know about them.
Mr Mahlaba argued that the Umsobomvu Youth Fund was centrally located and that implementation by a central body did not reach the people on the ground. He proposed that there should be decentralization of power, and that each district should have powers of approving or declining business plans. He argued in that way, the central level will know how much money was allocated for each district and those districts would account for their separate budgets.
Mr Mogale suggested that those young people who were blacklisted because of defaulting on education loans should be exempt.
Mr Mzondeki proposed that a sample of rejected business plans should be brought in front of the Committee and the youth organisations should motivate why they were rejected and also give feedback to the applicants to restrict the numbers of missing business plans.
Ms L Moss (ANC) proposed that municipalities should monitor these youth organizations.
The Chair added that traditional leaders should be involved because there were communities that depended on their leaders who had no knowledge of municipal affairs.
The meeting was adjourned.
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