Government priority: Creating decent jobs

Plans for 2015/16
Update on progress and achievements
Budget for jobs
The drive to create jobs
Government initiatives
Government programmes supporting job creation
Finding a job
What does Government say about job creation?





Plans for 2015/16

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Public Employment Programmes (PEP-IMC) is driving government’s effort to create 6 million work opportunities by 2019. This is being done through programmes that create jobs for those who cannot find work and that create public goods in the form of new infrastructure or the improvement of existing infrastructure. These programmes also address service delivery challenges.

In the 2014/15 financial year, just more than a million work opportunities were created in public employment programmes.

The committee resolved at its inaugural meeting on 22 July 2015 to pay closer attention to the geographic distribution of such programmes. They want to achieve particular impact in provinces such as Limpopo, the North West, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape where youth unemployment is concentrated. Read the statement.

Update on progress and achievements

Employment growth

  • The Labour Suvery report by Stats SA released on 10  February 2015 shows that there are 15,3 million people who are employed in South Africa. Jobs grew by 203 000.
  • Our investment in youth employment is paying off. The Employment Tax Incentive which was introduced in 2014 directed mainly at the youth, is progressing very well. Some 29 000 employers to date claimed R2 billion rand for at least 207 000 young people. President Zuma announced a target of 6 million work opportunities over five years for the programme.We have thus far created more than 850 000 work opportunities. This means that we are poised to meet the annual target of one million job opportunities.

Job creation

  • Government support helped the automotive sector to produce over 566 000 units in 2014, whereas 356 800 units were produced in 2000. This support has improved auto exports from 11 000 units in 1995 to over 270 000 units in 2014. As a result, 300 000 jobs have been created in the automotive sector.
  • Government’s intervention aimed at stopping the decline in the clothing, textiles, leather and footwear sectors resulted in the retention of 68 000 jobs.
  • Our environmental programmes such as Working on Waste, Working for Wetlands, Working for Water and Working on Fire have created more than 30 000 work opportunities and aim to create more than 60 000.
  • The Department of Communications'  digital migration will result in more than 23 500 jobs created in the manufacturing value chain including installers and warehousing, logistics and repairs.

Empowering the youth

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) recorded the following youth empowerment statistics, arising from its interventions:

Young people receiving non-financial interventions36 164
Number of young entrepreneurs funded through Economic Development Programmes (NYDA Micro, SME and external partners)1 833
Value of funding accessed through Economic Development Programmes (NYDA Micro, SME and external partners)R30 261 150.62
Number of jobs created3 335
Number of jobs facilitated through placement in job opportunities1 325
Number of projects supported through green economy interventions78 projects

The Jobs Fund was announced by the President during the State of the Nation Address on 10 February, 2011. Following this announcement, the Jobs Fund was successfully launched in June 2011 by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and an amount of R9 billion Rand was set aside, to be allocated over a three year period, towards the realisation of the objectives of the Jobs Fund.

More information on the Jobs Fund is available under the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Government departments also have programmes aimed at creating jobs for the youth.

Budget for jobs


Government continues to prioritise measures aimed at generating employment. Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene said in the 2015/16 Budget speech. These include tax incentives for employment and investment, support for enterprise development, skills development and employment programmes.

R10.2 billion has been allocated over the MTEF period to manufacturing development incentives and support for growing service industries, such as business process outsourcing. Under Minister Davies’ oversight, the manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme will spend R5.4 billion and will assist 1 450 companies with financial support to upgrade facilities and skills development.

Special economic zones are allocated R3.5 billion over the medium term, mainly for infrastructure development. The work of the Department of Tourism in promoting tourism continues to be supported. Over the MTEF period, the Department of Small Business Development will spend R3.5 billion on mentoring and training support to small businesses.

The Jobs Fund will spend R4 billion in partnership with the private sector on projects that create new employment, support work-seekers and address structural constraints to more inclusive growth. The community work programme will be extended to all municipalities. Its allocations increase by 21 per cent a year.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has an allocation of R11.8 billion to fund more than 107 000 full time equivalent jobs and 224 000 work opportunities through environmental EPWP programmes.

A total of R590 million has been allocated to the Green Fund over the medium term, for strategic environmental projects in partnership with the private sector.


In the budget speech for 2014/15 Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said Government will expand its employment programmes over the following three years and continue to support job creation by the private sector.

Government has spent more than R100 billion on employment programmes over the five years up to 2014, including municipal and provincial spending. More than 4 million job opportunities were funded over this time. Allocations will continue to grow strongly, and 6 million job opportunities will be created over the next five years.

To boost economic growth, transformation and job creation, the 2014/15 budget made R35 billion available for industrial development, which includes R6.5 billion for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), R5.4 billion for provincial investment agencies and R2.3 billion for various research and development support initiatives.

This funding will support the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and its sector strategies such as the Automotive Production and Development Programme, which subsidises international vehicle manufacturers to incorporate local producers into their supply chains, and the Clothing and Textile Competitiveness Programme, which aims to counter the effects of illegal imports and increase domestic producers' participation in local and global markets.

Over the next three years, special economic zones are allocated R3.6 billion to promote value-added exports and generate jobs in economically disadvantaged parts of the country. Preparatory work is underway to attract investors to the zones through tax incentives, infrastructure enhancements and other initiatives.

Another initiative is the agricultural policy action plan to support the National Development Plan target of creating 1 million jobs in agriculture by 2030. Expenditure over the medium term will focus on improving agricultural productivity. More than R7 billion will be spent on conditional grants to provinces in support of about 435 000 subsistence and 54 500 smallholder farmers, and to improve agricultural extension services.

To boost domestic food production and reduce reliance on imports, the Fetsa Tlala initiative aims to bring an additional 1 million hectares into cultivation by 2019, creating 300 000 jobs.

The private sector remains the biggest driver of job creation, but there is also a role for government in supporting employment creation as well as providing short-term work opportunities through public and community works projects.

One such innovative approach to support for job creation is the Jobs Fund which provides a model for tackling unemployment and promoting growth by matching private sector funding for projects that will generate sustainable jobs and spur economic activity. Among the current initiatives supported by the Jobs Fund are agricultural projects working on linking farmers to agricultural produce markets in rural areas as well as projects that provide support to emerging entrepreneurs in the townships. Thus far the fund has contracted 61 projects that will receive grant funding of R3.2 billion over the next three years. These projects are expected to create 96 102 permanent jobs and place 48 933 individuals into existing jobs by 2016.

The other approach is that of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) [PDF] which was launched in January 2014 as an incentive that subsidises the salaries of newly recruited workers aged 18-29. The ETI should support a total of 240 000 jobs over the next three years.

The drive to create jobs

President Jacob Zuma announced in the State of the Nation Address for 2011 that all government departments will align their programmes with the job creation imperative. The provincial and local government spheres were requested to do the same, and 2011 was declared a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.

President Zuma said that research had indicated that we could create jobs in six priority areas: aluminum industry

  • infrastructure development
  • agriculture
  • mining and beneficiation
  • manufacturing
  • the green economy
  • tourism.

The 2011 Budget proposed a range of measures to accelerate employment creation over the period ahead, including R9 billion that has been set aside over the next three years for a Jobs Fund to co-finance innovative public- and private-sector employment projects.

Government initiatives

  • The Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) [PDF] encourages youth employment. By the end of December 2014, about 29 000 employers had made use of the incentive. It came into effect in 2014, after the law was passed in December 2013.  Employers have claimed the incentive for at least 270 000 employees.
  • The Gauteng Department of Social Development has launched job centres to address unemployment and poverty among the province's youth.
  • Government established a jobs fund of R9 billion to finance new job-creation initiatives over the next three years.
  • The Industrial Development Corporation has a number of schemes to boost job creation. In 2013, it created about 19 000 new jobs and saved about 4 000.
  • The Automotive Investment Scheme saw the approval of 92 projects in 2013. The projected investment resulting from these approvals was close to R9 billion based on incentives of R2,5 billion, creating over 7 000 jobs as a direct result.
  • The campaign to pay SMMEs on time, within 30 days, is proceeding well. The Department of Trade and Industry payment hotline (0860 766 3729) received about 20 000 calls in the 2010/11 financial year, and the value of payments facilitated was R210 million. Other departments have launched their own initiatives, for example the Re Ya Patala (We Pay) initiative of the Department of Public Works (0800 782 542).
  • In communications, television and radio signals will be converted from the analogue platform to the more advanced digital signal which will enable quality pictures and sound. This process will create jobs in manufacturing, packaging, distribution and installation.
  • The hosting of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope has already provided construction job opportunities in the Northern Cape and will continue to do so.
  • Through the combined programmes of business support, enterprise financing and labour intensive activities in the social sector, 3 335 new jobs were facilitated by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in 2012/13.
  • The Department of Public Works has set aside R210 million in 2011/12 to hire and train unemployed people to fix potholes, build low bridges and maintain public garden spaces following the recent floods across the country.
  • Government has put President Jacob Zuma’s job-creation plans into action by announcing the creation of 120 000 permanent jobs in infrastructure development. The organisations that have been earmarked to create jobs include Eskom and the departments of water affairs and of environmental affairs.
  • The Department of Transport are creating 70 000 jobs in a R6,4-billion project to repair potholes. The project is part of a new labour-intensive road-maintenance programme called S'hamba Sonke (walking together). A total of R22,3 billion will be spent between February 2011 and April 2014.
  • Initiatives are under way to promote rural employment, such as the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC), and provide stepped up support for agricultural producers.
  • The Community Work Programme (CWP) is an innovative offering from government to provide a job safety net for unemployed people of working age. This programme created more than 79 000 work opportunities up to the second quarter of 2011/12, benefitting women and the youth particularly from the poor rural families. In addition, the Human Settlements Programme created over 50 000 direct jobs, 4 653 indirect jobs and 21 446 induced job opportunities.
  • The Minister of Labour approved various initiatives aimed at creating employment through training and re-skilling of workers in order to give them capacity to compete in the open economy.
    • Productivity South Africa’s social plan. Funds were committed in this financial year towards the Social Plan with the aim of saving a further 20 000 jobs.
    • Funding for the training of the Unemployed scheme. The scheme is aimed at developing skills in specific artisan trades with a view to trainees being eventually employed and possessing scarce skills. The training for the Unemployed scheme is done in partnership with the various sector education and training authorities (SETAs).

Government programmes supporting job creation

  • Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) - provides poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed. EPWP includes the Home-Based Community Care and Food for Waste Programmes.
  • The New Growth Path (NGP) - aimed at enhancing growth, employment creation and equity.
  • the dti provides financial support to qualifying companies in various sectors of the economy. Financial support is offered for various economic activities, including manufacturing, business competitiveness, export development and market access, as well as foreign direct investment.
  • The Small Enterprise Finance Agency fosters the establishment, survival and growth of SMMEs and contribute towards poverty alleviation and job creation. It was was established in 2012 as a result of the merger of South African Micro Apex Fund, Khula Enterprise Finance Ltd and the small business activities of IDC.
  • The Department of Environmental Affairs has a number of job creation projects, including:
    • Working for Water - eradicates invasive alien vegetation to conserve water and the environment, providing jobs and training to approximately 20 000 people per annum.
    • Working on Fire is a multi-partner organisation focused on integrated fire management and veld and wild fire fighting, combined with the need to create jobs and develop skills.
    • Working for Wetlands uses wetland rehabilitation as a vehicle for job creation, skills development, and the wise use of wetlands.
    • The department also established programmes aimed at created jobs for the youth:
  • The South African Decent Work Country programme - through this programme, the International Labour Organisation and government, organised business, organised labour and the community constituency give support to initiatives aimed at promoting the decent work agenda.
  • The Department of Arts and Culture launched the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy in 2011, which was expected to create more than 150 000 work opportunities between 2012 and 2017.
  • In March 2013, government launched the R800-million Aquaculture Development Enhancement Programme, which offers cost-sharing grants of R40-million per company. The aim is to create more jobs in the sector.
  • The mine rehabilitation programme of the Department of Mineral Resources has had a positive effect on communities where the projects are including economic growth owing to sourcing labour and material locally. By March 2013, the department had rehabilitated 13 mine sites. A total of 284 jobs were created as part of the programme.

Finding a job

For every job available, you will always have to compete with other job-seekers. This information should help you to find a job, write a CV, prepare you for the interview and starting the job. You can also find information on how to start a business.

What does government say about job creation?


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