Government works to scale up Presidential Employment Stimulus footprint

Monday, October 3, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will continue to build on the success of the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) and expand its reach, as it pursues economic growth to deliver decent and sustainable employment at a much larger scale.

In his weekly newsletter to the nation, the President said that the PES is still very much needed to complement recovery efforts in the job market. 

The PES was launched less than two years ago to create jobs and support livelihoods, as part of supporting economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PES has just reached a milestone of one million participants reached since its inception.

“Through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, we have unlocked energy, commitment, creativity, innovation and opportunities. In the process, we are building a society that works.

“Over one million people have benefited directly. Many more people in the families and communities of participants have felt the impact of the stimulus. Our task now is to expand and deepen the impact of this work,” the President said.

The President said the achievement of the stimulus is the result of a collaborative effort across government and the wider society, including the private sector, community-based organisations and many others.

He said the programme contributes to employment creation, while the economy takes time to recover and create jobs at the required scale.

Given that lack of work experience is a major barrier to finding work, the President emphasised that these programmes provide high-quality work experiences.

In the largest programme supported by the stimulus, for example, President Ramaphosa said nearly 600 000 young people have been placed as school assistants in over 22 000 schools nationwide.

School management, teachers and other stakeholders, the President said, agree that the contribution of the school assistants has improved the learning environment in schools.

“Many self-employed people found their livelihoods disrupted by the pandemic. The creative sector was particularly badly affected. In this sector, support was provided to people to create jobs for themselves and others.

“The movies, music and plays produced are now able to generate further income from the sale of rights, tickets and royalties. All of this has been contributing to the growth of the sector,” he said.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus has also supported sustainable livelihood with over 140 000 subsistence farmers receiving production input vouchers to assist them to resume and expand production after the disruptions of COVID-19.

One such beneficiary is 36-year-old Phindile Ngcoya from Richmond in KwaZulu-Natal. She is one of 10 members of a family farming cooperative and says the voucher she received helped the new cooperative survive and become profitable.

The PES further supports graduates, with opportunities provided to nurses, science graduates, artisans and others.

About 26 universities are currently helping to place unemployed graduates in work relevant to their qualifications.

“The incomes earned in Presidential Employment Stimulus programmes have been an economic boost to small enterprises and informal businesses in local economies across the country. School assistants employed in Umgungundlovu are spending their wages in Umgungundlovu. The same in Putsonderwater.

“Instead of the ‘trickle down’ effect, money is being put directly into the hands of communities that need it most. That money then circulates locally and ‘trickles up’ into the wider economy. That is why we call it a stimulus because the entire economy benefits along with society,” the President said.

Securing employment for youth

As a result of the PES, the President said the country now has thousands of people with valuable work experience, who are easy to find through the platform.

The President called on business to hire these young people with newly-acquired work experience, as they leave these programmes.

“Once employers see the Presidential Youth Stimulus as a place to find young talent, then we will be able to realise the full potential of this innovative and hugely successful initiative,” he said. –