Fund our Futures Campaign: a small victory - but we’re not giving up! - Youth Capital

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Fund our Futures Campaign: a small victory – but we’re not giving up!

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Did you tune into the Medium-term budget policy statement on Wednesday afternoon? We did, and we have some exciting news 👀! If you have supported the petition, YOU were one of 16 000 people who signed the petition to extend the Presidential Employment Stimulus. Also, 84 organisations signed our Open Letter to National Treasuryt – this is huge! Here’s the good news 🥳 – the programme has been extended for another year! 

In his speech, Minister Godongwana said that

‘The presidential employment initiative will be extended for another year through repurposing of a portion of funds from existing public employment programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the Community Works Programme (CWP). A comprehensive review of public employment programmes is underway.’  

Adding your name to the petition contributed to this victory! But let’s take a step back – so what does this all mean? Keep reading to find out 👇. 

Okay, let’s deconstruct the jargon! 

The EPWP and CWP, established public employment programmes, have for long been part of the government’s strategy to tackle unemployment through the creation of short-term work opportunities. 

The EPWP, launched in 2004 within the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, coordinates programmes that support the delivery of public infrastructure such as the creation of roads, schools etc. – you know where we’re going with this. As part of the EPWP, the Community Work Programme (CWP) was formally launched within the Department of Cooperative Governance in 2010. This programme focuses on socio-economic needs, and programme participants do community work in a part-time capacity – this provides them with some extra cash to look for or engage in further income-generating opportunities. While these programmes need improvements including monitoring and evaluation and strengthened exit opportunities, they play an important role in giving young people a foot in the door of the labour market.

You can read more about these programmes in our latest brief, One million and counting: the Presidential Employment Stimulus.  [don’t worry, we don’t use jargon] 

So what is the deal with the budget?

The Presidential Employment Initiative (which refers to a range of public employment programmes including the Basic Education Employment Initiative, the Social Employment Fund and the National Youth Service, to name a few) received a one year extension, which is a great win and we couldn’t have done it without you!

However, the programme’s funding comes at the expense of funds from the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Work Programme (the ones we discussed above). According to what the Minister said, these programmes are going to be reviewed; but government shouldn’t pit unemployment solutions against one another. The youth unemployment crisis is systemic and it requires multiple solutions that build on each other, to support young people and provide them with a safety net. 

What’s next for us? 

2024 is going to be a tricky year because of the national elections coming up, so politicians are going to be ‘politicking’ big time and the power play will be through the roof 🍿. But this won’t stop us. We are going to continue advocating for the following two goals:

  1. an allocated budget for the Stimulus that is ongoing, not not just one year;
  2. the implementation of our recommendations to strengthen the programmes, so that young people can turn these short-term opportunities into long-lasting, life-changing experiences.

This is just the beginning of a long campaign – thanks for your support, but stay tuned for more action! 

What can you do right now?

It’s important not to lose momentum! This is what you can do:

-sign up for our newsletters – we need more informed citizens if we want South Africa to change. Check the different content here!

-Youth Capital’s Action Plan guides our advocacy and our Fund our Futures responds to our call to Make Public Employment Work – read the Plan and endorse it here

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