The Presidency announced on Tuesday, February 9 that 600 000 jobs have been created through the Presidential Employment Stimulus as part of the country’s economic recovery plan.

The January progress report on the implementation of the programme revealed that the programme is well on its way to reaching its target of creating 800 000 employment opportunities by the end of the financial year.

Thousands of posts have been filled or are currently open to applications. President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced the stimulus in October 2020 and said R100-billion would be pledged towards job creation in the public sector in response to the rise in unemployment and economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, R13-billion has been allocated to implement the stimulus, while the remaining R87-billion will be spent over the next three years.

“The Presidential Employment Stimulus supports a range of opportunities through the expansion of public employment as well as job retention in vulnerable sectors,” said the Presidency in a statement.

“In addition to employment opportunities, the stimulus provides crucial support for livelihoods in the creative sector, the agricultural sector and the early childhood development sector.”

The majority of the opportunities created by the stimulus were in the following areas:

Basic Education

344 933 opportunities were created through the employment of education assistants (general and teaching) and protection of vulnerable teaching positions at a cost of R7-million. Appointments have been finalised in most provinces and 94% of assistants have been placed, according to the presidency.

Social Development

An R588 728 injection created income and registration support for the early childhood development sector and enabled the retention and recruitment of social workers.  The appointed social workers have commenced work.

“The Department of Social Development is working closely with its partners in the ECD sector to distribute income support for 108,833 workers in registered and unregistered ECD programmes,” said the report.

Applications for the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund remain open until February 19, 2021.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

The agriculture department set up a USSD platform that enabled vulnerable small-scale farmers to apply to the Subsistence Producer Relief Fund. Government said more than 178 000 applications have been received via the platform, so far, and the process of issuing vouchers to eligible applicants has begun. To date, 74 626 opportunities have been created from a R1-million allocation.

Further opportunities were created in:

– Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: 50 311

– Transport: 37 079

– Sports, Arts and Culture: 34 070

– Cooperative Governance: 25 000

– Trade, Industry and Competition: 8 000

– Health: 5 531

– Science and Innovation: 1 900

– Public Works and Infrastructure: 1 560

The presidency’s announcement comes ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, February 11.

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