The Jobs Fund has just announced a R271 million relief fund following the shocking news that at least 7.1 million South Africans were listed as unemployed in the first quarter of 2020.
According to Stats SA this number rises to 10.8 million people when the destitute who have given up the search of employment are also taken into account, says head of the Jobs Fund Najwah Allie-Edries.
Allie-Edries says the financial lifeline by the Jobs Fund and its partners to 23 projects range from support to micro-enterprises and small-scale farmers to supporting youth to improve their capabilities and skills and connecting them to the labour market.
“Although government has taken extraordinary measures to protect the economy – amongst which include the introduction of financial support packages for businesses – more needs to be done,” she says.
Therefore the Jobs Fund has identified a funding gap affecting a number of its projects and has responded to protect the viability of its portfolio of job creation projects. “The intervention aims to mitigate both the demand and supply-side disruptions that the pandemic has on its projects, increasing their resilience and bolstering their ability to deliver on their job creation mandates during and post-covid-19.”
Allie-Edries stresses that the crisis of youth unemployment remains one of the greater ripple effects resulting from the novel coronavirus with a staggering figure of 41.8% youth unemployment in the country.
The intervention by the National Treasury initiative aims to mitigate both the demand and supply-side disruptions that the pandemic has on its projects, “increasing their resilience and bolstering their ability to deliver on their job creation mandates during and post covid-19,” she says.
The Jobs Fund’s support intervention will be focused on addressing supply and demand side shocks by:
- augmenting Jobs Fund partners’ and beneficiaries’ working capital requirements;
- de-risking investment by traditional banking sources of finance into job creation projects;
- supporting on-going skills development for youth and SMEs;
- supporting project partners and beneficiaries to comply with existing loan repayments and other covenants.
The intervention is set to potentially impact more than 70 000 beneficiaries residing in mostly township and rural areas. It promises to ensure income protection for vulnerable businesses and individuals and will also assist SMEs to become more resilient to withstand future shocks.
“Despite the unprecedented challenge we face, the Jobs Fund and its partners remain committed to meeting its job creation objectives and obligations,” Allie-Edries affirms.