Over 200 municipalities across the country are implementing the Community Work Programme (CWP) covering 243 sites.
The CWP is a government initiative under the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) aimed at providing an employment safety net and basic minimum income for people living in marginalised areas where, often, employment opportunities are not easily accessible.
The programme is also designed to provide an employment safety net by offering participants a minimum number of regular days of work, in practice, two days a week or the monthly equivalent at a rate of R86 a day.
"The work responds to priorities set at local level and focuses on labour-intensive activities"
The rate is reviewed and adjusted to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) every year through a Ministerial Determination by the Department of Labour.
The CWP was started to address the high incidence of unemployment. It is based on the recognition that policies to address unemployment and create sustainable jobs will take time to reach people living in marginalised areas with few opportunities.
The work responds to priorities set at local level and focuses on labour-intensive activities. These include food gardens at clinics, schools, and churches and on household plots; home-based care, developing recreation spaces and sporting facilities; environmental rehabilitation; general maintenance work; and cleaning schools as well as other tasks to support schools.
Implementing agents contracted by the Department of Cooperative Governance are putting the programme into action. At local municipal level, there is a reference committee that advises and supports the programme’s implementation.
This structure assists to ensure that there is a work plan for CWP participants and that key stakeholders within the municipality and sector departments are working with the implementing agencies in supporting the programme.
Since the programme was incorporated into the Cogta Ministry in 2010, about R5.9 billion has been used to pay stipends for participants.
Many participants use their new skills to acquire permanent jobs, start their own businesses or to become artisans. During the 2014/15 financial year 43 634 participants benefited from training opportunities offered by the programme.
The Community Work Programme
Restoring dignity through work opportunities
The Community Work Programme (CWP) is a community driven government programme based in the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG).
It is an element of Public Employment Programmes (PEPs) designed to address the triple challenges of poverty,
unemployment and inequality.
It provides an employment safety net (not an employment solution) and basic minimum income for people living in marginalised areas where, often, employment opportunities are not easily accessible. It provides a baseline in terms of income security and economic access and participation.
The Community Work Programme is currently being implemented in 243 sites covering a total of 213 municipalities. It is envisaged that by the end of the current financial year, the programme would have been extended to cover every municipality in the country.
The CWP has over the years been able to establish 10 key strategic partnerships in order to enhance the quality of work outputs and sustain programme initiatives. However, Implementing Agents enter into a number of informal partnerships or cooperation arrangements in implementing various initiatives that contribute to useful work since work activities cut across different sectors.
The programme is area-based with sites usually covering several wards in a municipal area. Sites are located in areas where unemployment is high and alternatives are likely to remain limited for the foreseeable future.
The programme is targeted at unemployed and underemployed women and men and aims to give those willing and able to work the opportunity to do so – although its ability to achieve this is limited by the constraints in the numbers of participants it can absorb at each site. It encourages youth, women and people with disabilities to enrol. The CWP is designed as an employment safety net, not an employment solution for participants.
CWP work must be ‘useful work’ – work that contributes to the public good or the improvement of living conditions in poor communities and the quality of life of the residents of those communities. Community participation and support has transformed feelings of despair into those of hope. There are indications that the programme is improving people’s lives.\