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PUBLIC WORKS' MILLION-JOB TARGET

(Taken from BrandSA Newsletter)


The South African government has just launched one of its flagship job-creation initiatives, the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP).  It has the target of alleviating the significant unemployment problem in the country by employing a million people within the first five years of its implementation. 

 

The EPWP will be a labour-intensive programme aimed at promoting economic growth and sustainable development by offering people part-time jobs while they gain various skills.  The Cabinet has approved a business plan for the EPWP, and the programme will begin to be implemented in phases.

 

President Thabo Mbeki told the National Council of Provinces that "the centre-piece of the EPWP is a large-scale programme of using labour-intensive methods to upgrade rural and municipal roads, municipal pipelines, storm-water drains and paving, as well as fencing of roads, community water supply and sanitation, maintenance of government buildings, housing, schools and clinics, rail and port infrastructure, electrification infrastructure, and so on."

 

The EPWP will tie in with various poverty relief programmes, including Land Care, Faranani-Pushing Back the Frontiers of Poverty, People and Parks, Coastal Care, Sustainable Land-based Livelihoods, Cleaning up South Africa, and Growing A Tourism Economy.

 

Mbeki cited the highly successful Working For Water programme and its allied programmes - Working on Fire and Working for Wetlands - as examples of projects that would sustain the EPWP. The Working on Fire Programme operates on a budget of about R30-million and has over 300 projects around the country, providing work and training opportunities to some 21 000 people.

 

Mbeki said there are also plans to replicate the Zibambele programme, initiated in 2000 by the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport, to other provinces. The objectives of Zibambele are to maintain the province's rural road network and to provide poor rural households, which have no other source of income, with a regular income.  In 2002/2003 there were around 10 000 Zibambele contractors maintaining approximately one-third of KwaZulu-Natal's rural road network and the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport is planning to increase this number to 14 000 - or 40 000 poor households - by the end of the financial year.

 

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