Nelspruit - Over the past five years, the Mpumalanga Provincial Government has made huge strides in creating thousands of jobs through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Delivering his State of the Province Address on Friday, Premier Thabang Makwetla said through the programme, the province had created 106 159 job opportunities surpassing its target by over 6 000 jobs.
He said women, youth and persons with disabilities benefited from the EPWP, adding that in 2008 the provincial government enrolled a further 1 000 young people into the programme and 1 050 youth were enrolled in the National Youth Services this year.
"We created opportunities for women empowerment through our "SIYATENTELA" programme, which by the third quarter of 2008 had benefited 1 983 women in labour intensive road construction and maintenance," he said.
Delivering his Budget speech earlier this month, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said government would speed up the introduction of the next phase of the EPWP.
"An additional ... R4.1 billion is set aside for the second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme," he said adding that departments and municipalities countrywide should be involved.
"I propose that participating departments, provinces and municipalities should be challenged to exceed their targets for creating EPWP jobs over the period ahead."
He added that the contingency reserve this year has been increased to allow for additional funding of employment projects in the 2009 Adjustments Appropriation.