Treasury defends jobs fund costs

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 National Treasury on Tuesday denied the government's Jobs Fund had created only 745 jobs, at a cost of R4 million each.

It said the 745 jobs mentioned in a newspaper report referred to the number of unemployed youth placed under one of the projects -

Harambee - that received money from the fund.

Since its establishment, the Jobs Fund had approved 54 projects, which had met the criteria to secure funding worth R3 billion.

“This amount has been committed to projects, but not all of it has been disbursed,” the Treasury said.

Of those 54 projects, 27 had signed agreements for funding of more than R1 billion.

“These initiatives will create over 65,000 new, permanent jobs in South Africa by 2015, and place 42,000 unemployed people in existing vacancies.”

Business Day reported the fund planned to spend R9 billion over three years to create 150,000 jobs.

“If the country is to solve its unemployment crisis, we have to find new ways of doing new things,” fund spokesman Brian Whittaker was quoted as saying.

The fund was intended to lower the cost and risk barriers that prevented innovation, partnerships and job creation from becoming a reality.

Some 54 projects had so far been approved, but only 27 had been allocated to contractors for implementation, the daily reported.

Once all projects were implemented, 65,000 jobs would be created, according to Whittaker.

The Jobs Fund was first announced by President Jacob Zuma in his 2011 State of the Nation address and launched in June last year.

It is managed by the Development Bank of SA.

- Harambee is a business initiative that seeks to address youth unemployment through partnerships with many of South Africa’s top brands. Employers commit to taking first-time employees into entry-level roles. - Sapa

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