Pretoria — The ideals of radical economic transformation require employment multipliers and skills transfer programmes that are dedicated to enhancing democracy and building an equitable society, says Public Works Minister Nathi Nhleko.
Delivering his departmental Policy Statement and Budget Vote Speech in the Old Assembly in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister Nhleko said government has to establish a mechanism to report on efforts it has made in facilitating employment creation.
"The focused outcomes of infrastructure development must be job creation, poverty eradication and income generation through an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) approach, using labour intensive methods of construction, development and maintenance.
"We have committed to the creation of six million work opportunities by 2019 through EPWP and other public employment programmes such as Operation Phakhisa. We aim to develop and rehabilitate 333 harbour and coastal properties along the coastal area of our country," he said.
Minister Nhleko said capital and maintenance projects to the tune of R400 million have been identified, focusing on spatial and economic development imperatives.
"We will in the upcoming period undertake the repair and maintenance work in three small harbours of Hout Bay, Gordons Bay and Kalk Bay as part of the first phase of the project.
"The work entails dredging and removal of sunken vessels. These projects will assist in creating additional work opportunities to improve the quality of life for our people in the Western Cape province," he said.
Minister Nhleko said through EPWP, a total of 2.3 million work opportunities in the infrastructure, social, environment, culture and the non-State sectors have been created.
In the financial year under review, a total of 660 000 work opportunities were created in all spheres of government. In the 2017/18 financial year, the target is to facilitate an additional 1.4 million work opportunities.
"In furtherance of the objectives of the programme, we will disburse the EPWP Integrated Grant worth R1 billion to eligible public bodies and incentivize Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs), among other implementers. This will also allow the poorest members of society to generate income by providing services to their communities.
"We are implementing a special programme aimed at providing socio-economic infrastructure to our rural communities," he said.
Infrastructure for rural communities
In partnership with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, Public Works has started implementing the Rural Bridges Programme. This is intended to provide Bailey-type bridges to needy communities.
The department piloted the project in the Eastern Cape. In total, it has delivered 11 bridges during the period under review.
The bridges are cost effective and highly useful in rural areas, as they connect villages and create access to amenities for socio-economic development.
Bridge sites have been identified in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape for prioritisation.
Last Sunday, Public Works officially unveiled the Cerhu River memorial stone in Bawa village in Mnquma Municipality in the Eastern Cape.
The memorial stone is in honour of 10 women who died when the vehicle they were travelling in was washed away trying to cross the flooded Cerhu River in 1993.