With an investment of R23.5 billion, government was able to cushion the unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period where the majority of people were without any economic activity, says Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi.
This was done through the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES), which was government’s response to the devastating economic impact of the pandemic on jobs and livelihoods.
Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday, the Minister said the programme has to date benefitted 960 972 beneficiaries, 84% of which are youth and 58% female.
A total of 726 638 (83% of target) jobs were created, 235 92 (75% of target) livelihoods supported, and 40 526 (67% of target) jobs retained.
The PES report outlines the implementation of programmes from November 2020 until June 2022. Using direct public investment, the PES supports job creation, job protection and livelihood support programmes, as part of a wider economic recovery progress.
The PES forms part of government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP), which focuses on programmes being implemented by government and social partners to stimulate equitable and inclusive growth.
Noting the progress of the ERRP, Kubayi said government has made good progress in implementing what was agreed. However, the full impact of the implementation can only materialise if all the social partners play their role.
“Although on aggregate, the economy has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, pandemic scars linger in many sub-sectors such as mining, manufacturing, construction, trade and transport sectors, whose performance is still below pre-pandemic levels,” Kubayi said.
The growth outlook, the Minister noted, is more uncertain now as a result of global and domestic factors.
“Growth in the second half of 2022 is likely to be weighed down by structural constraints and high inflation. Constraints to growth include energy supply shortages, a weak business climate, constraints to logistics, and high levels of unemployment.
“The prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict could keep inflation elevated for longer, weighing on global demand. Social partners need to strengthen their partnership and coordinate their efforts so that the implementation of the recovery can have the desired impact,” the Minister said.
Under the ERRP, the some of the following has been achieved:
• Energy security measures to increase generation capacity have been implemented. Small-scale embedded (SSE) generation increased to 100MW, with 5 000MW pipeline projects from industry.
• In the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Bid Window 5, a total of 25 preferred bidders, with a generation capacity of 2 583MW, were announced, with the projects’ commercial closure set for 2025. Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) emergency procurement preferred bidders were announced, with a generation capacity of 1 996MW.
• IRP Bid Window 6 procurement commenced and request for proposal issued to procure 2 600MW.
• The Koeberg life extension project has commenced.
• Nine Masterplans for localisation and the creation of a productive economy have been completed and are under full implementation.
• Two Masterplans were completed and are awaiting approval.
• Eight Masterplans are being developed in consultation with various stakeholders.
• Approximately R80 billion has been invested in six of the Masterplans.
• Localisation in some products has commenced in the automotive industry and Retail – Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather (R CTFL).
• Fifty Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPS) were identified, eight are in preparation, 13 in procurement, seven have been completed and 32 are under implementation, valued at R340 billion. 436 052 (cumulative) direct jobs have been created.
• The smallholder farmer support programme was initiated, with 39 228 farmers supported.
• 5 053 hectares of agricultural land were rehabilitated.
• 678 assistant agricultural practitioners were employed, 438 of whom are women, 619 are youth and four people with disabilities.
• Employment in the agricultural sector increased by 6% in Q1 of 2022.
• Total tourism international arrivals increased by 162% in first quarter of 2022 compared to first quarter of 2021.
The ERRP was developed, in the short-term, to preserve lives through supporting livelihoods, distressed firms and financial systems, health care.
It is a collaborative initiative from the Government and Social Partners. It focuses on the Macro-Economic Intervention and Enablers of Growth, energy security, Infrastructure, Public Employment, Industrialisation and Growth, Green Economy, Agriculture and Food Security and Reviving the economic sector.
Source: South African Government News Agency