Free State EPWP projects impress Deputy President

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is impressed with how the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is improving the lives of residents in Thaba Nchu in the Free State.

The skills being imparted to local community members as well as the stipend they earn are helping them live a better life.

“Government is touching the lives of our people, and we are very impressed with that,” he said, addressing local residents after visiting various EPWP projects.

He said the EPWP was a flagship programme for government.

“In our country we have [many] people who are not working. Our government is doing something through the EPWP to help our people … People are now able to put food on the table for their families,” he said.

He encouraged participants in the EPWP projects to continue to work hard so they can gain skills and reduce poverty in their community.

Accompanied by Cabinet ministers, the Deputy President visited the Thaba Nchu Bus Route Project and Thaba Nchu Ratlou Complex.

Along with Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, he was briefed about the construction of the road where EPWP participants were in the process of laying bricks.

“This is what our people need - to be taught [how to do it] and thereafter they can do it on their own,” he said.

Project Manager Feziwe Mbube told SAnews the project has employed 56 people and that all of them are from the local community.

“Most of them came here with no experience, they learned how to pave while working here,” she said.

According to Mbube, the project started in July and it is hoped that it will be completed by December.

Oratile Rasebonang, 38, one of the EPWP participants, told SAnews that he started working on the project in August and that he is happy that he can now do brick paving.

“When I started working on the project, I knew nothing about paving, but now I can do paving without any difficulties,” he said.

Participants at the project receive a stipend of R2070 a month.

EPWP participant Vincent Xhashembe told SAnews that apart from the experience he is getting from working on the project, he is happy to be receiving a stipend that enables him to support his family.

“I am happy that I am now able to support my family, I am happy with what our government is doing for us,” he said.

Deputy President Ramaphosa then visited a complex where buildings are being renovated by EPWP participants.

The participants, from the local community, are gaining experience by working on the project.

The EPWP programme is aimed at providing income relief through temporary work for the unemployed. The programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households, in the short to medium-term.

The projects employ workers on a temporary or ongoing basis with government, contractors, or other non-governmental organisations under the Ministerial Conditions of Employment for the EPWP or learnership employment conditions.

Since 2012/13, the EPWP has created 4 185 426 work opportunities, and has a target of creating an additional 4 205 730 work opportunities by the end of 2018/19.

Deputy President Ramaphosa also visited the Albert Moroka Secondary School where he encouraged learners to focus on their studies.

He told them they should work hard and pass their exams so they can help move the country forward.

“The country needs you, work hard in your studies, set aside time to study,” he urged. - SAnews.gov.za

 

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