Jasco says Yes to Cyril Ramaphosa’s youth jobs plan
BUSINESS LIVE / 28 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 05:06 / NICK HEDLEY
The technology company welcomes the president’s Youth Employment Service and sees a chance to boost its BEE score
Technology firm Jasco said on Thursday it was keen to be among the first companies to use President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new youth employment scheme, partly in an effort to boost its broad-based BEE scores.
Ramaphosa’s Youth Employment Service (Yes) initiative, which was gazetted in August, is aimed at giving businesses an incentive to employ young people through tax breaks and improved BEE ratings.
Also on Thursday, health-care group Netcare said it would train and offer additional permanent jobs to 1,200 unemployed youth as part of the scheme. The positions would be in the fields of finance, human resources, administration, technical services and pharmacy.
"We are on track to recruit 490 previously unemployed young people in 2018 alone … As part of the Yes campaign, we are also building an innovation hub in Alexandra, Johannesburg, which will create further additional employment and enterprise supplier development opportunities," Netcare said.
Mark van Vuuren, who took over as Jasco CEO in July, said boosting the technology firm’s BEE scores was "a business imperative" that would open up new commercial opportunities.
If implemented successfully, the Yes scheme can bump up a firm’s BEE rating by two levels.
Van Vuuren said the programme was also a good alternative to existing skills development requirements, which were "actually quite onerous and unaffordable at the moment" for small-caps like Jasco.
"We’re very excited about the Yes initiative. It seems a lot more affordable but, more importantly, you actually engage at grass-roots level.
"The thing that drives the economy is growing the middle class," said Van Vuuren. "If you have unengaged and unemployed youth, that’s going to be a social disaster, so corporate SA has got to be a part of the solution," he said.
Jasco had not yet firmed up its hiring targets under the youth employment programme.
The company said on Thursday its net earnings in the year to June rose 8.9% to R8.8m as revenues grew 10.2% to R1.2bn.
Van Vuuren said the group’s renewable energy segment was likely to benefit from a revival in the corporate renewable energy market. Companies were once more looking to reduce their reliance on Eskom, which plans to hike electricity prices at a steady rate and has problems with coal supply.
Demand for renewables previously tapered off when Eskom ended load shedding.
Van Vuuren said solar panels were now more affordable, with payback periods of five to seven years. "We’re definitely seeing a lot more interest and a lot of activity in that space – not just in SA, in East Africa as well."
Meanwhile, Jasco planned to reduce head office costs given "the tough economy".
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER