12 June 2019

South Africa: Public Works Jobs Programme Report Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

analysis

The South African Cities Network and the Department of Public Works have released their 2017/2018 report into the Expanded Public Works Programme. And while progress has been made, questions have been asked as to whether the programme is creating long-term employment, or is just a temporary sticking plaster.

South African cities are recognised as engines of economic growth, attracting many job seekers who end up poor and jobless. This is why the national government launched the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) -- an initiative that creates job opportunities in cities for unemployed semi-skilled and unskilled workers.

The programme is in place to combat the triple scourges of poverty, vulnerability and unemployment. And despite enjoying some success, it has also faltered and faced criticism.

According to the report, Phase 3 of the programme has created 3.5 million jobs, more than half of the six million which was the target for the phase. That is, 59% in four years of the five-year phase.

The eight South African Cities Network (SACN) member cities -- Johannesburg, eThekwini, City of Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Msunduzi, Buffalo City, Mangaung, Ekurhuleni and Cape Town -- implemented 1,303 EPWP projects in total during the 2017/18 financial year; a...

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