Johannesburg — Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says he will do everything in his power to ensure that resources are available for the successful implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
He said there was a strong need for funding to be increased to ensure that the programme reached its targets. The programme, aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed to carry out socially useful activities, is intended to create 4.5 million work opportunities by 2014.
Nxesi said the programme brought hope to many impoverished people in the provinces and in the municipalities.
"The programme brings ... opportunities to those who are desperate to improve their conditions of life. Where there are problems or concerns, they should be raised so they can be confronted," he said.
The minister was speaking at the EPWP Non-State Sector Summit in Boksburg today. The summit is intended to engage non-governmental organisations (NGO) on the implementation of the EPWP with an emphasis on working together to intensify the creation of work opportunities.
The summit aims to forge partnerships that will ensure sustainability of the non-profit organisations participating in the non-state sector programme.
According to the minister, the non-state sector has so far achieved remarkable achievements and it is growing fast. He called on more NGOs and community-based organisations to take part in the programme.
The EPWP non-state sector was launched in 2009 with the aim of partnering with non-profit organisations to draw a significant number of the unemployed into productive work, thereby contributing to the alleviation of unemployment and poverty among communities.
The programme uses wage subsidies to support non-state sector entities in their community development initiatives.
In his presentation, Public Works Deputy Director-General Stanley Henderson said the programme was expected to create over four million work opportunities.
He explained that the programme was nationwide, covering all spheres of government and state-owned enterprises.
"It aims to draw significant numbers of unemployed, unskilled people into productive work, so that they increase their capacity to earn an income," he said, adding that it provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households.
To date, more than 35 000 people across the country have been provided with an opportunity to work and to receive experience or skills from projects that are supported by the Non-State Sector NGOs wage subsidy.