jobs

South Africa's "job creation" minister Ebrahim Patel says no recession will stop the government from creating enough jobs to get young people working.

South Africa's "job creation" minister Ebrahim Patel says no recession will stop the government from creating enough jobs to get young people working.

Patel said the government would make a good start with its plan to create 500000 jobs before the end of the year - in line with promises made by President Jacob Zuma in his state of the nation address.

The government has been accused in the past of creating short-term, badly-paying jobs just to inflate job creation figures. University of Cape Town researchers Daniela Casale, Collette Muller and Dorrit Posel found, for example, that when the government claimed to have created 2million new jobs since the end of apartheid, the real figure was 1,4million.

But Patel told Sowetan that this year's 500000 new jobs would be different. "We are looking at temporary jobs for young people where you build a service in a community, not just for one week, but for many, many months. For a hungry person, having employment for many months can make a critical difference in whether that young person sees a future for themselves in lawful economic activity or whether to turn to crime," Patel said.

He said the government would not hoodwink the youth into thinking they were being employed permanently, saying the jobs programme would be "a bridge between unemployment and long-term employment".

It would give young people some experience of working and make them employable, he says. With an estimated 2,6million unemployed youth and millions more unemployed adults, Patel has a huge task ahead of him.

He poured cold water on the suggestion that the ANC might have to revise its jobs plans.

"In a recession, government must step up and put money in to do things that will bring more people into employment because the market will not be absorbing people at the rate that it did previously," Patel said.

Asked if the government would rein in private housing contractors, who in the past have been paid large sums of money but delivered poor quality housing, Patel said people will be put to work building "quality" services that will benefit the community.

"Where money has been diverted to private pockets, our task will be to ensure it is redirected to the purpose for which it was intended - creating good services for South Africans."

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