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Expanded Public Works Programme a cloud of hope to mitigate unemployment

By: Moraka Mehale

Unemployment is but one of the scorching issues that is affecting a rainbow nation of South Africa which leads people to seek survival of the fittest against adversities. Some find themselves being in redundancy due to economic cycle.


Therefore, the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure under the umbrella of Limpopo Provincial Government launched Phase 4 of Expanded Public Works Programme to continue giving community members a ticket of employment.

This was launch by government was attended by senior officials from all spheres of Government at Makhado Show Grounds with hope to create job opportunity within a public domain.

According to the Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, the Expanded Public Works Programme is one of Government's key programmes aimed at reversing poverty and creating an income relief through temporary work for the unemployed. As it is a nationwide programme covering all spheres of Government and SOEs to increase labour intensity of government-funded infrastructure projects for people to be hired irrespective of their educational background.

Phase 1 of the EPWP had achieved its one Million work opportunities target by 2008, a whole year ahead of schedule.   However, this had not made a dent in the unemployment rate, as it had remained stubbornly high, and worsened from 2008. This fuelled planning to challenge an issue of unemployment which resulted with EPWP Phase 2 existence, setting a desired target of 4.5 Million work opportunities. This phase had witnessed new developments, among which were the introduction of the non-state sector, which had some programmes; the Community Work Programme and the Non-Profit Organisation programme and the National, Provincial and Municipal EPWP Incentive. It allowed the country of South Africa to move in new transition path for development and ensured beneficial to various communities. In addition, EPWP Phase 3 employment target for 2014/15 was projected at 1 075 189, growing progressively each year to the five-year target of six Million, which was met at the end of the phase.  The targets were divided into several sectors, like infrastructure, Environment and Culture, social, non-profit organisations and community work programmes.

The EPWP Phase 3 focused on increasing the EPWP contribution to development.  This achieved by improving the strategic and operational aspects of the EPWP, introducing uniformity and standardization across the various EPWP programmes through participation of community involvement. During his address on the official opening of provincial legislature on the 5th July 2019, Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha indicated that current employment rate in the province sits at 18.5%. But the Province has taken a conscious decision to build an economy that will be the major contributor to the national wealth by 2030. In similar vein, phase 4 peruse as fundamental stage to culminate unemployment as it set target over the five-year period (2019/2024) to provide work in all sectors of EPWP. National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure Chief Director, Ms Pearl Lukwago-Mugerwa congratulated Limpopo Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure for taking this presumable step to launch phase 4 to serve community members. “Congratulations to this province to be the second forerunner by launching phase 4 through its commitment to alleviate poverty among the people. Thank you for taking the leadership”, said Lukwago-Mugerwa.

With her jovial smile, MEC Dr Monicca Mochadi finds it pivotal to eye EPWP for betterment of the people to deal with their financial constraints for survival. “This programme is central to ensure that work opportunities are created for people to gain skills for better life for themselves. We must professionalise the EPWP as it can’t be work as usual because it has a very idea of creating point for our people to push away frontiers of poverty”, said MEC Mochadi. Since its inception the EPWP assisted people to put bread on the table for their families and Limpopo Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructures aims to strengthen it for the sake of community members. During the launch, Acting Premier Seaparo Sekoati encouraged mayors to submits reports on the operation of EPWP so that provincial government can assist to ensure that our people are employed. “ Since Limpopo Province aims to create 475 358 work opportunities through EPWP, we urge our Mayors to submits reports on the work and development of EPWP to enable our people to be equipped with work through phase 4 for development”, said Sekoati.