The presidency will now take control over the job-creation programmes of the departments of minerals and energy, trade and industry, public works and labour as part of a "national jobs initiative".
Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, pictured, said this on behalf of the joint presidential working group formed last year to come up with ways for South Africa to overcome the global crisis.
Government is making an effort "to ensure that the burden of the global economic meltdown is not unfairly loaded onto the poor people", Mpahlwa said at a media briefing at Tuynhuys yesterday.
Cosatu's Ebrahim Patel, who represents labour on the working group, would not say exactly how many jobs the national jobs initiative aimed to create. He said the working group had come up with a "comprehensive package" to create jobs and prevent retrenchments.
"Instead of retrenching, we will put these workers into funded training programmes so that it is easier to absorb them back into the economy with new skills at the end of the lay-off period," Patel said.
Business representative Bobby Godsell said business was "committed" to doing all it could to avoid retrenchments.