Employment Creation Through the Provision of Social Development Services: Exploring the Options

by DU TOIT, R., 2005
Development Southern Africa, 22:5, 657-671

The high unemployment rate in South Africa is a central concern of policy makers. Because there are only a few substantial labour intensive industries, led by the private sector, it has become essential to explore other less mainstream avenues for employment creation. The role of public works programmes has historically focused on the infrastructure sector, but the Expanded Public Works Programme includes the social sector. The government has at its disposal a strong policy instrument – the provision of a range of services to meet basic needs – and so could, in the medium term, create a large number of jobs through social development services, the demand for which vastly exceeds their provision. Basic social development needs programmes target a large number of unskilled unemployed and promise the possibility of affordable employment creation. Such programmes include Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Home and Community Based Care (HCBC) as identified by the Social Sector Plan. This article explores these options.