CAPE TOWN, Sept 26 — The South African government wants to strengthen its Extended Public Works Programmes (EPWP) to create six million job opportunities over the next five years, says Deputy Minister of Public Works Jeremy Cronin.
He said here Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma would unveil phase three of the public employment programme when he visits Eastern Cape Province next Friday. The Public Works’ Programme renders services to communities, while creating jobs and developing skills.
Most of these jobs are in the environmental, agriculture and rural development sectors and the government says millions of rand have been saved, especially through the Working for Water project, which removes invasive plants.
“The emphasis is also on improving the quality, both of the work experience, so that those who participate in it enjoy the possibilities of them graduating from the programme into some kind of self-employment or formal employment of one kind or another. And also paying attention to the contribution that these programs make towards creating assets and providing services particularly in poor services,” says Cronin.
The Department of Public Works in the Eastern Cape has since launched a committee to oversee challenges relating to the programme in municipalities. The committee includes District and Metro Municipal Mayors, MECs and South African Local Government Association (Salga).
Th Eastern Cape Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Public Works, Thandiswa Marawu, said: “It will be of vital importance to create a platform whereby all political forces that are dealing with EPWP will be able to share experiences and address some of the challenges that are facing municipalities.”
The programme was introduced as a response to address challenges of unemployment, poverty alleviation, skills development and also improvement of social services. At the time the EPWP was incepted unemployment was approximately at 40 per cent and youth the most affected.
The first phase of the programme was between 2004 and 2009 and more than a million jobs were created while close to 4.3 million citizens joined the programme between 2009 and the beginning of this year.
Phase three of the programme will be launched in Keiskamahoek, Eastern Cape, next week.