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SA Government | 9 May 2023

Employment and Labour Minister, T.W Nxesi delivers “a budget to alleviate and preserve jobs”

In the face of a cost-of-living crisis Employment and Labour Minister, T.W Nxesi delivered the Department’s Budget Vote which he said will be anchored by a focus on job creation and preservation; strengthening social dialogue for inclusive growth; health and safety; and promoting equity in the workplaces.

“Two massive milestones – in the form of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Act and Employment Equity (EE) amendments - received presidential assent in April this year, fittingly just ahead of May – Workers’ Month,” he said.

Nxesi said the Department, in order to contribute to the alleviation of unemployment, the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF’s) Labour Activation Programme (LAP) will continue to fund projects to maintain and create employment. The Minister said the UIF was currently reviewing its funding model to further increase support for job creation.

“The UIF will continue to pursue the objectives of the R5-billion partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation in creating and retaining jobs. The fund supports start- ups and existing businesses,” Nxesi said.

He said the Temporary Employer Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), administered through the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), will continue to provide support to distressed companies that seek to retain their employees.

According to Nxesi a target of 240,000 people will be recruited in the Employability Enhancement Programme which is designed to integrate unemployed people back into the labour market and this will be done by the end of the Medium Term Strategic Framework.

He further announced that the Business Turnaround and Recovery programme, implemented through Productivity South Africa (Productivity SA), enhances the productive capacity and operational efficiency of enterprises in order to preserve jobs and minimise retrenchments.

In pursuing its projects Productivity SA aims to support 37 250 Enterprises, place 1 250 students/youth, and contribute a total of 113 000 jobs over the fiver-year period.

Nxesi said in the 2023-2024 financial year the Department’s plan to introduce a number of new youth employment projects nationally will begin in June.

“We are now beginning to see the positive results of the Productivity SA Turnaround Strategies and UIF Labour Activation Programmes. A total of 186 companies facing economic distress were supported and these interventions resulted in nearly 16 000 jobs being retained,” he said.

In oiling the wheels of the labour market, the Department will launch the upgraded Employment Services System of South Africa (ESSA), an online job matching platform - to make it easier for work seekers to access employment opportunities. The Minister said the Department’s entity, the Supported Employment Enterprises (SEE) as part of its legislative mandate will increase employment of people with disabilities at its factories from the current 940 to 1250 during the current year. The Department will also provide subsidies to nine organisations that will provide work opportunities to 1 041 workers with disabilities, he said.

He also revealed that the Department in partnership with the Presidency and the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), will continue to support the development of the Pathway Management Network - bringing together multiple online networks of training and employment opportunities - also providing support to unemployed youth through the establishment of an Innovation Fund and support to a National Youth Service.

On the policy front he said the draft National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) and the amended Employment Services unveiled in February 2022 have been revised and were process of engagement at NEDLAC.

He said the draft National Employment Policy (NEP) was guided by key policy interventions which are being shared during the consultations with various Departments before it was presented at the Economic Cluster and Cabinet.

Commenting on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) he said the policy instrument has already benefited about six million workers. He further told the House that the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Amendment Bill was due for completion by September 2023 for engagement with Nedlac.

“We trust that proposed steep fines will curb high levels of non-compliance by some employers. Remember the object here is to reduce workplace accidents and diseases – which in turn also increases productivity, necessary for economic growth,” Nxesi observed.

On the social dialogue front Nxesi said NEDLAC planned activities for 2023/24 will focus on: progress with labour law reforms which focus on improving the effectiveness of labour laws as well as extending them to atypical workers and emerging issues such as the future of work, remote work and the just transition.

Nxesi said in the past year the Inspection and Enforcement Service branch had conducted over 100 000 Health and Safety inspections. He also said through the inspections the focus was currently on JSE-listed companies to ensure compliance, “for 2022/23 we referred 238 companies to court for failure to comply”.

According to Nxesi the National roving teams are conducting a blitz programme focused on high risk and problematic sectors to ensure compliance with the NMW and Basic Conditions of Employment Act. He said during the last year, the Department carried out over 300 000 inspections – seeking to promote compliance, fair labour practices, decent work and a safe workplace.

He said in ensuring that access and service delivery was enhanced the historical and systemic challenges within the two funds (Compensation Fund and UIF) are being addressed.

Nxesi said the UIF’s ‘Follow the Money’ programme to recover money defrauded had made significant progress in recovering Covid19 Ters funds wrongly or fraudulently paid. The programme he said had recovered R61 million as at 31 March 2023, 60 arrests with 12 individuals sentenced. In pursuing proper governance of its interests, Nxesi said the UIF will strengthen monitoring of its investments with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to ensure due diligence and fair returns.

In the financial year 2023/24 the budget allocation to the Department is just over R4- billion. For media inquiries, please contact:

Sabelo Mali Ministerial Liaison Officer Cell: 082 729 5804 Email: sends e-mail)

Petunia Lessing Director: Media Liaison Cell: 066 301 4645 Email: sends e-mail)

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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