Pretoria – Public Works Deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin says the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) continues to play an important role in creating work opportunities for millions of unemployed people.
The Deputy Minister was addressing the 2014 edition of the EPWP Summit in Pretoria on Thursday. The programme has created 5.5 million job opportunities since it was launched in 2004.
Although EPWP has been doing well as far as job creation is concerned, Deputy Minister Cronin expressed concern over the high unemployment figures still seen across the country.
The Deputy Minister said the current 40-day duration of the EPWP work opportunity must be reviewed as it is too short.
The summit was held under the theme ‘EPWP Phase 3: Towards increased community participation and developmental impact’.
It kicked off on Wednesday with the Kamoso Awards to recognise and reward the best performing public sector bodies that have excelled in the implementation of EPWP in the preceding year.
The summit is attended by various government department representatives throughout the country, contractors and municipal officials.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the EPWP has provided many people with the necessary skills for the job market.
“If it was not for EPWP, many would not have gained the necessary skills that enable them to compete in the job market and there wouldn’t be infrastructure in some communities,” he said.
Premier Makhura said the programme has changed the circumstances of many, especially the poor, and that it has added value in the economy.
The Premier used the occasion to announce that Gauteng will soon launch its provincial Phase 3 of the programme targeting young unemployed graduates, women and people with disabilities.
Phase 3 of EPWP was recently launched in Keiskammahoek in the Eastern Cape by President Jacob Zuma. The phase is envisaged to create six million work opportunities by 2019 in four different sectors namely infrastructure, environment and culture, social and the non-state sector.
Infrastructure has been earmarked to be the biggest employment creator with more than two million work opportunities out of the total six million targeted by 2018/19. – SAnews.gov.za