EPWP changing lives

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Infrastructure development is set to become one of the key drivers of employment in the next few years as the country implements the National Development Plan (NDP). It’s also worth noting that government departments as well as municipalities have begun aligning their planning with the NDP. 

The Department of Public Works, through its Expanded Public Works Programme, is one of those departments that will be critical to reduce unemployment in line with the NDP. Through EPWP, government has since 2004, provided work opportunities and training to millions of unemployed and unskilled people, mainly youth.

The EPWP was introduced with a clear mandate of alleviating poverty and unemployment through the provision of training; work opportunities to the poor and unemployed South Africans.

It is implemented by all three spheres of government across its four sectors which are infrastructure, non-state, and environment and culture as well as social sectors.

Since the launch of the phase three of the programme, more municipalities have already signed protocol agreements committing themselves to achieve their EPWP targets.

The target for the second phase, which was from the 2009/10 financial year until March 2014, was to create 4.5 million work opportunities for unemployed South Africans. More than 5.5 million work opportunities were created by the target date.

Phase three of the EPWP, launched last year by President Jacob Zuma in the Eastern Cape, will provide six million work opportunities by 2019. Of the six million work opportunities, the bulk of the opportunities will be given to women, youth and people with disabilities.

The NDP says the EPWP should be broadened to cover two million fulltime jobs by 2020. This is because the programme is a key to government’s goals of creating decent work & sustainable livelihoods, rural development; food security and land reform.

Government says phase three of the EPWP will put emphasis on not just reaching work opportunity targets, but also pay attention to the quality of the services that are provided such as schools, clinics and multi-purpose centres built by EPWP participants. -SAnews.gov.za