Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says the improved public awareness of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is due to the value it adds in the communities.
EPWP is a flagship programme to fight poverty and unemployment through the provision of short to medium term work and training opportunities.
The Labour Market Dynamics for South Africa 2014 report, which was delivered by Statistician General Pali Lehohla last week, states that awareness of the EPWP and other government job creation programmes increased from 42.8% to 52% in 2014.
“The EPWP Phase 3 has absorbed the element of public participation, community development as well as social cohesion and integration.
“This means that EPWP projects and programmes are no longer limited to government’s fight against poverty and unemployment through the creation of short to medium term work and training opportunities, but these programmes are also intrinsic in the development and unity of our people.
“The public now plays a role in working with government to identify EPWP projects and programmes that can improve their lives, develop their communities and indeed unite them,” Minister Nxesi said.
Public Works Deputy Minister Jeremy Cronin pointed to a range of EPWP projects and programmes in the four sectors that EPWP is operating that are contributing to this positive community awareness of the programme.
“For instance EPWP Home Community Based Care (HCBC) is anchored in our communities. The EPWP participants who are working in these programmes are providing hundreds of thousands of our children, who are coming from poor communities, with daily meals either at schools or at community centres across the country,” he said.
Deputy Minister Cronin said hundreds of thousands of HIV positive people and the elderly community members across the country were also benefiting from government’s EPWP.
“These community members are visited at their homes by community care givers, who are EPWP participants, who help them with their medication and their overall health care,” he said.
The Deputy Minister also spoke about the involvement of over a thousand of EPWP Working on Fire fire fighters, who braved the recent multiple fires in the Western Town as another example of EPWP’s contribution to the development of communities.
“These EPWP fire fighters were able to unify our nation. Community members from Western Cape and across the country rallied behind them in the daunting and dangerous task to extinguish those fires. As a nation we remain proud of the work they did,” he said.
The EPWP Working on Fire Programme is implemented by the National Department of Environmental Affairs.
The Labour Market Dynamics for South Africa 2014 report states that in 2014, seven out of 10 of those who participated in the EPWP and other government job creation programmes were employed, up from 56.9% in 2014.
“This is what we mean when we say that EPWP can lead towards the provision of sustainable employment for those who are involved in it,” Deputy Minister Cronin said.
Between 2011 and 2014, the proportion of those who participated in these programmes and who were employed in tertiary industries increased from 58.1% to 75.1%.
The proportion of those employed in low-skilled occupations also increased from 51.1% to 72.4% over the period. Four out of every five participants who were employed had a formal sector job – a trend that has been continuing since 2011.
The report reveals that women are more likely to participate in these government public employment programmes (PEPs), with the share of women among those who participated increasing from 59.3% in 2011 to 63.1% in 2014.
The report further states that in both 2011 and 2014, participation in the EPWP was dominated by persons with an educational qualification lower than matric (65.6% and 69.9% respectively).
In 2014, the Eastern Cape accounted for 22.7% of those who participated in these programmes, followed by Gauteng (17%) and KwaZulu-Natal (14.9%).
Source : SAnews.gov.za