Teacher Assistant Initiative Has Received A Year's Worth Of Funding

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Youth will continue to benefit from government employment programmes in 2024. This comes after the National Treasury  committed billions to youth employment initiatives. 

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Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana revealed that the government will allocate over R60 billion for employment creation in the country over the medium term. This announcement was made during his budget speech in Cape Town on Wednesday.

This allocation includes R7.4 billion specifically designated for the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative. 

During the 2024 State of The Nation Address (SONA) President Cyril Ramaphosa reflected on the impact of the PYEI, which had placed more than a million young people in schools as teaching assistants.

The programme's effectiveness was widely acknowledged and numerous civil society organisations called for its continuation. The minister's announcement, identifying R7.4 billion for the Presidential Employment Initiative, signifies a continued effort to support young South Africans grappling with unemployment

Youth Capital Project Lead Krystal Duncan-Williams says while they are encouraged that the BEEI has received a year's worth of funding. They add that while the programme's budgetary allocation is less than they had hoped for, its allocation is what is to be expected in the current financial climate. 

A mixed reaction from us but as I think as many people are saying given the constraints the financial constraints, you know the minister himself saying the PIE is just not big enough, I think the kind of outcome that is balanced and what we would have hoped for at a minimum, so that's encouraging 

The minister's announcement of funding for employment programmes comes on the back of Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) announcing that unemployment is on the rise in the country. The official unemployment rate stands at 32,1%. 

One area of contention highlighted by Duncan is the perceived lack of focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are crucial for job creation, especially among young people. They emphasise the importance of economic reforms and incentives for SME growth, particularly amidst challenges such as loadshedding and a stagnant economy.

I think what we would have liked to have seen more of is more incentives or more money being put towards SMEs as they're the ones that are already creating jobs at this point

While the budget emphasised infrastructure development, including comments regarding critical areas like transportation and logistics. Duncan-Williams stresses the need for tangible delivery on promises made in previous budget speeches. 

The minister addressed South Africa’s logistics challenges, announcing the introduction of third-party access to the freight rail network by May 2024. Additionally, the minister revealed a private partner's involvement in upgrading Pier 2 of the Durban Container Terminal to enhance operational efficiency and technological capability.

Inefficient logistics, including challenges in transportation and distribution networks, create bottlenecks that impede economic efficiency and competitiveness. Delays in transporting goods from production facilities to markets result in inventory stockouts, higher storage costs, and reduced customer satisfaction. 

we need a functional transport system both Freight and for public transport so hopefully there's delivery there we've had promises about infrastructure development over many budget speeches

Despite acknowledging the budget's constraints and the need for a balanced approach, Duncan- Williams has urged policymakers to prioritise youth employment and inclusive economic growth. They believe that collaboration across government departments is crucial for effective policy implementation, particularly in addressing the complex systemic barriers faced by young people seeking employment.

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