Government priority: Creating decent jobs

The drive to create jobs
Plans for job creation
Update on progress and achievements
Finding a job





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. 2011 was declared a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.

Research had indicated that we could create jobs in six priority areas:

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

The 2011 Budget proposed a range of measures to help create employment, including R9 billion that has been set aside over the next three years for a jobs fund.

The 2017 Budget allocated funds over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period to support economic growth and indirectly job creation in various programmes:

  • R3.9 billion for small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives
  • R4.2 billion for industrial infrastructure in special economic zones and industrial parks
  • R1.9 billion for broadband implementation
  • R3.9 billion for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • an additional R494 million for tourism promotion
  • an additional R266 m to support the aquaculture sector and realise the goals of the Oceans Economy Phakisa Operation
  • spending on agriculture, rural development and land reform amounting to nearly R30 billion by 2019/20.

Plans for job creation

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 new public infrastructure or the improvement of existing infrastructure. These programmes also address service delivery challenges.

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.

More than 700 000 South Africans are engaged in a number of public employment programmes. They are providing essential public services while receiving a stipend, gaining work experience and acquiring skills. Many of them go on to follow meaningful careers as a result of the experience they gained. These programmes are made possible by collaboration between communities, civil society and the state. (Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa: Presidency Dept Budget Vote 2017/18)

Update on progress and achievements

Employment growth and job creation

  • The Labour Survey report released by Stats SA on 31 October 2017 shows that a total of 16,192 million people were employed in South Africa for the period July to September 2017. However, 6,2 million people were unemployed during at the time. Employment grew by 358 000 or 2,3% while unemployment grew by 337 000 or 5,7% compared to the same period in 2016. 

Government initiatives and programmes supporting job creation

  • The Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) encourages employment by paying an incentive to participating employers who provide work to young work seekers.  The incentive that came into effect in 2014, after the Act  [PDF] was passed in December 2013.  By the end of December 2014, about 29 000 employers have claimed the incentive for at least 270 000 employees.
  • Government established a jobs fund of R9 billion to finance new job-creation initiatives over the three years from 2011.
    • According to the July 2017 Jobs Fund newsletter, it had a portfolio of 117 approved projects with a total allocation of R6,1 billion in grant funds.
    • These projects will potentially leverage an additional R8,6 billion from partners to create 239 903 permanent jobs.
    • A total of 110 projects have already created 100 055 new permanent jobs and placed an additional 55 053 people in vacant permanent positions.
    • They also created 27 314 short-term jobs and provided work-readiness and technical training to 209 845 people.
  • The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has a number of schemes to boost job creation. In 2017, it created 18 206 new jobs and saved 2 675 (IDC 2017 Integrated Report).
  • A total of 61 250 jobs were covered by job-protection commitments or investments directed at saving jobs in 2016/17,  Minister Ebrahim Patel reported in the 2017/18 Economic Development Budget Vote speech. An additional 25 937 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the transactions involving the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Competition Commission, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) and the Economic Development Department.
  • The campaign to pay SMMEs  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 (hotline  0800 782 542).
  • In communications, the switch from digital to analogue signals for television and radio is creating 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.
  • The programme of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) supported 71 306 young people in 2016/17, according to the NYDA Annual Report 2016 - 2017. Of these, 28 538 were trained in life skills and 37 654 in job preparedness, while 5 114 were placed in jobs.
  • As part of improving the skills of workers, the post-schooling sector is focused on increasing the number of learnerships and apprenticeships, as well as increasing access to and improving quality of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges (Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa: National Economic Development and Labour Council Summit).
  • The Itukise Unemployed Graduates Programme was launched in 2014. In the 2016/17 financial year, the programme, supported by the National Skills Fund, placed 1 000 interns and in-service trainees with private sector companies. 75% of the graduates found employment within six months and 57% were permanently employed by the host companies. (Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe: Trade and Industry Dept Budget Vote 2017/18)
  • The Department of Transport planned to create 70 000 jobs in a R6,4-billion project to repair potholes as part of a labour-intensive road-maintenance programme called S'hamba Sonke (walking together). In the department's 2017/18 budget vote it was announced that 137 887 jobs had been created. 
  • Initiatives such as the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) have been established to promote rural employment and provide stepped-up support for agricultural producers.
  • The Community Work Programme (CWP) provides a job safety net for unemployed people of working age. In March 2017 there were 243 162 people participating in the CWP. This exceeds the annual target of 234 823 participants. Government's  target for the 2017/18 financial year is 258 400 CWP participants. (Deputy Minister Andries Nel: Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs Dept budget vote debate 2017/18)
  • The Minister of Labour approved various initiatives aimed at creating employment through training and re-skilling of workers to give them capacity to compete in the open economy.
  • The 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) is aimed at enhancing growth, employment creation and equity.
  • The dti provides financial support to qualifying companies in various sectors of the economy, among others the automotive sector.
    • 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. 
    • Investment initiatives in 2016/17 include a multi-billion rand investment in a vehicle manufacturing plant in Coega by Beijing Automobile International Corporation, which is set to create 2 500 direct jobs. Toyota SA opened a R6.1bn assembly line to produce new vehicles. The project attracted five new international suppliers, while creating around 2 000 new jobs in the supply chain. The current scheme is due to run until 2020. Government is already engaged in an inclusive consultative process with all key stakeholders to develop an automotive master plan that will inform our motor industry programme thereafter. 
  • The Small Enterprise Finance Agency fosters the establishment, survival and growth of SMMEs and contribute towards poverty alleviation and job creation. 
  • In 2016, the departments of environmental affairs and of tourism co-hosted a Biodiversity Economy Operation Phakisa Delivery Lab to accelerate the economic growth and job creation opportunities in the biotechnology and biodiversity conservation sectors, in particular through the ecotourism and wildlife sectors. The Biodiversity Economy implementation plans target the creation of 100 000 jobs, and support for 4 000 new SMMEs by 2030. (Minister Edna Molewa: Environmental Affairs Dept Budget Vote implemented under the auspices of the Expanded Public Works Programme  (EPWP). The initiative is a proactive preventative measure2017/18)
  • Goverment has allocated R1,2 billion to the Green Fund, creating approximately 6 620 direct jobs up to the end of the 2017/18 financial year. One such project is the construction of the Hammarsdale Waste Beneficiation centre in KwaZulu-Natal, that will maximise waste diversion from landfill through innovative recycling technologies. (Minister Edna Molewa: Environmental Affairs Dept Budget Vote 2017/18).
  • 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.
    • Working on Waste was implemented under the auspices of the Expanded Public Works Programme  (EPWP). The initiative is a proactive measure to prevent waste and encourage recycling.
    • The department also established programmes aimed at created jobs for the youth:
  • 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.
  • Vuk'uzenzele has a regular section with government jobs.

Finding a job

For every job available, you will always have to compete with other job-seekers. We have compiled information that should help you to:


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