employment stimulus package

Ramaphosa issues progress report on employment stimulus package

Andile Sicetsha - 10.02.2021

From the R100 billion, 13% has been spent in a span of nine months. Here’s where the stimulus package money went.

Ahead of the much-anticipated State of the Nation Address (SONA 2021), President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, rather timeously, released the second progress report on the employment stimulus package.

What is the employment stimulus package?

Those with a reliable long-term memory will remember that in April 2020, Ramaphosa announced that through his investment drive, R100 billion had been raised to inject into South Africa’s flailing economy and labour market.

At the core, the employment stimulus package is a mechanism that “supports a range of programmes, from expanding public employment to protecting existing jobs and creating new jobs.”

“Its aim is to support livelihoods while the labour market recovers — investing in public goods and services, enhancing skills and employability, and boosting demand in the economy at the same time,” the report states.

How much has been spent so far — on what?

Nine months since its inception, and approximately R13 billion has been spent, according to the report. Much of this expenditure has been injected in the Department of Basic Education’s teacher assistant drive and agriculture’s Subsistence Producer Relief Fund, among other initiatives.

Here is a complete breakdown of how much was spent on each department:

Basic Education: R7 million and 344 933 opportunities created

Most of this has, according to the report, gone towards finalising the appointments of teachers’ assistants in all nine provinces and protecting vulnerable teaching posts. About 94% of these assistants have been sourced and placed with monthly compensation.

Social Development: R588 728 and 111 142 opportunities created

This programme provides income support and registration support for the early childhood development sector, and retention and recruitment of social workers. According to the report, tThe Department of Social Development is working closely with its partners in the ECD sector to distribute income support for 108 833 workers in registered and unregistered ECD programmes.

Agriculture and Land Reform: R1 billion and 74 626 opportunities created

This allocation was for providing input vouchers to vulnerable, small-scale farmers through the Subsistence Producer Relief Fund. Over 178 000 applications were received through the USSD platform established by the department, and the process of issuing vouchers to eligible applicants has begun.

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: R1.98 million and 50 311 opportunities created

Existing public employment programmes in Natural Resource Management have been expanded, while new programmes have been initiated in the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP).

Transport: R630 000 and 37 079 opportunities created

Recruitment commenced through provinces in January 2021 and is ongoing.

Sports, Arts and Culture: R665 000 and 34 070 opportunities created

An open call for funding proposals released by the National Arts Council and the National Film and Video Foundation was oversubscribed. Awards will be issued to successful applicants in February 2021. Support to job retention schemes in the sports sector were also oversubscribed.

Cooperative Governance: R50 000 and 25 000 opportunities created

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) will capacitate and support 15 municipalities to adopt labour-intensive methods in the delivery of infrastructure maintenance projects, leveraging funds in the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).

Trade, Industry and Competition: R120 000 and 8 000 opportunities created

The Global Business Services incentive programme has been reinstated, with incentives to create 8 000 new jobs. Of these, 7 572 jobs have been to date.

Health: R180 200 and 5 531 opportunities created

Provinces have begun the process of recruiting enrolled and auxiliary nurses from existing databases of unemployed professionals.

Science and Innovation: R44 999 and 900 opportunities created

The department is supporting a range of programmes targeted at young science and social science graduates. All build on prior experience in similar programmes, and implementation is on track.

Public Works and Infrastructure: R158 880 and 1 560 opportunities created

A total of 1875 participants have been recruited across various programmes, exceeding the target by 315.

How much remains and what’s the plan forward?

From the accounting noted in the progress report, there is approximately R87 billion available in the stimulus package. This, the report notes, will be rolled out into the above-listed departments over a span of three years.

How this will be funnelled into the economy, at a time where its needed the most, remains to be seen. Perhaps, the president will provide more insight into this in his SONA 2021 address.