Expanded Public Works Programme under the loop

THABAZIMBI – Complaints about one of the Municipality’s projects in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) have been received over the past few weeks.

The complaints were mainly about the grass cutters alongside the roads from Leeupoort to Koedoeskop and Koedoeskop to Thabazimbi.

According the mr Bushy, Project Manager, he visited the sites after the complaints were received and the problems have been eradicated.

The Expanded Public Works Programme is one of government arrays of programmes aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed to carry out socially useful activities.

The Expanded Public Work Programme was launched in April 2004 to promote economic growth and create sustainable development. The immediate goal of the EPWP Phase 1 was to help alleviate unemployment by creating at least 1 million work opportunities, of which at least 40% of beneficiaries will be women, 30% youth and 2% people with disabilities.

As part of the contribution to the income of the poor, the target for 1-million work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme was attained in 2008, a year earlier than envisaged in the 2004 electoral mandate. This has created the possibility massively to expand this programme and improve its quality.

Given that most of the unemployed are unskilled, the emphasis is on relatively unskilled work opportunities. All of the work opportunities generated by the EPWP are therefore combined with training, education or skills development, with the aim of increasing the ability of people to earn an income once they leave the programme. Together with the SETA’s, the Department of Labour (DOL) coordinates the training and skills development aspects of the programme.

The EPWP is one of several government strategies aimed at addressing unemployment. The fundamental strategies are to increase economic growth so that the number of net new jobs being created starts to exceed the number of new entrants into the labour market, and to improve the education system such that the workforce is able to take up the largely skilled work opportunities which economic growth will generate. In the meantime, there is a need to put short to medium-term strategies in place, such as the EPWP.