Employment and Labour on Public Employment Services strategic workshop

Department of Employment and Labour reviewing its jobloss interventions to sharpen the turnover processes DG Lamati

The Department of Employment and Labour has begun a process to review its interventions to deal with the threat posed by unemployment or loss of jobs due to companies experiencing financial distress.

Department of Employment and Labour DirectorGeneral, Thobile Lamati said it was through the leveraging of active and passive labour instruments that the Department could play a critical role to preserve jobs. Lamati was speaking today during the opening of the Department’s Public Employment Services (PES) branch’ strategic workshop held at the East London International Convention Centre.

Some of the instruments that the department use in the job creation space are managed on its behalf by institutions such as the Public Investment Corporation and the Industrial Development Corporation.

Lamati identified the importance of the Social Responsible Investment initiative, which he said was critical to respond urgently to threat of unemployment or loss of jobs due to companies experiencing financial distress. He identified instruments such as the High Impact Social Fund and the Project Development Partnership Fund as critical tools in the labour market interventions.

For all these instruments to have the expected impact, they must be insulated from bureaucracy. Their processes have to be reviewed, shortened to cater for the needs of the clients. I have started a process to review all our interventions in order to sharpen these instruments, Lamati said.

The department’s PES branch provide assistance to companies and workers to adjust to changing labour market conditions, and to regulate private employment agencies.

PES branch provide public employment services by: registering work seekers on the Employment Services system of South Africa (ESSA); providing employment counselling; filling of registered employment opportunities; processing of complete individual and corporate work visas; registering work opportunities on the employment services of South Africa database and contribute to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities by providing funding and monitoring disability organisations on an ongoing basis.

Lamati said amidst the tough economic times there was a need for structural reforms to reignite the economy. He said the public employment services in countries where the economic outlook was a bleak as ours, the only hope is public employment services.

Public Employment Services represents a key component of our economic strategy. Given the high levels of informal employment and rising unemployment levels in the country, PES intervention is extremely important in improving job seekers attachment to the labour market; providing employers with adequate assistance in the recruiting process and raising the quality of job matches.

He said a critical question was how to reposition PES of a newlyreconfigured department?

Lamati said the reconfiguration of the department was still an ongoing subject of intense discussion. He said some of the options of the reconfiguration of the Department on the table include:

Using the department’s agencies for job creation initiatives.

Use Government’s participation through the department at Nedlac to organise stakeholders to promote job creation and pursue Job Summit resolutions; and /or

Coordinate all government efforts to create jobs and preserve jobs. Position and place the Department to be at the centre of all economic policy debates so that whatever policy Government comes with is intensely scrutinised so that its impact does not have negative effect on job creation.

The DirectorGeneral said for years the department has been an enforcer of laws, and now needs to reorientate itself on the new role of employment creation and preservation.

The department’s PES branch strategic workshop ends on Friday. The workshop will look at the role of PES branch in the newly reconfigured department, employment schemes in stimulating, forging linkages between labour activation programs and employment schemes, labour migration policy, future of work and implications to employment services.

Source: Government of South Africa