Government’s flagship job creation programme, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), is set for a major shake-up in the months ahead.
The programme will be contributing to building better community infrastructure, empowering participants with training and skills to enter the job market and becoming entrepreneurs as part of their exit strategies.
This was recently announced by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala at the EPWP Phase 5 Indaba in Pretoria.
The announcement comes as government is reviewing the performance of the EPWP and preparing for Phase 5, which will see over five million job opportunities being created.
The EPWP Phase 5 Indaba is taking take stock of phase 4, which comes to an end in March next year.
The programme, currently in Phase 4, has delivered over four million job opportunities.
Phase 4 learnings are being unpacked and new innovative ideas are being thrashed out for Phase 5 to accelerate the creation of job opportunities that have a long-lasting impact on the unemployment of South African youth.
Minister Zikalala said the repositioning and rebranding of the EPWP will be focused on delivering services and changing the lives of communities.
He said it should move beyond quantity to quality, high impact and be sustainable to the beneficiaries.
The programme will be massified to create more job opportunities while attempting to solve the country’s key challenges such as:
- Road maintenance (pothole patching, brick paving and ensuring pothole-free road networks).
- Cleaning of neighbourhoods and waste management.
- Energy (retrofitting of government buildings and solar installations).
- Fixing lifts and plumbing.
“EPWP Phase 5 should be more than just combatting unemployment. It is about rewriting the story of our youth from one of despair to one of hope, from stagnation to growth and from dependency to self-reliance,” he said.
“Our core focus should gravitate towards not just creating employment opportunities, but crafting pathways of continuous growth, learning and empowerment. Our goal goes beyond employment generation. It is about nurturing a skilled, self-reliant populace that contributes constructively to our nation’s socio-economic fabric,” the Minister added.
The EPWP will be escalated to encompass priority projects like road maintenance, energy, waste recycling and cleaning of government buildings as arenas of innovation, skills development and environmental stewardship.
It will have a strong emphasis on training, enterprise development and ensuring a transformational journey for participants. The exit pathways will ensure that the journey of participants leads to future employability, self-employment, and cooperatives or enterprises that can employ more people.
“Our vision of creating exit pathways is centred on ensuring that as participants transition out of the programme, they are not stepping back into the abyss of poverty and uncertainty, but are striding confidently into avenues of self-sufficiency, entrepreneurship and meaningful employment,” Minister Zikalala said.
The Minister said the EPWP programme will be characterised by the Khawuleza Model, where service delivery is accelerated and meaningful interventions are unleashed to ameliorate the living conditions of the vulnerable poor. – SAnews.gov.za