Plans in place to create 390 973 EPWP work opportunities 

As this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), Cabinet says plans are in place to achieve the remaining 390 973 work opportunities by March 2024.

The year 2024 marks 20 years of the existence of the EPWP, which represents one of South Africa’s success stories of mass public employment programmes and is by far one of the largest poverty alleviation initiatives. 

Briefing media on Thursday during a post Cabinet briefing, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Cabinet received a briefing on the implementation and achievements of the EPWP, a flagship government programme that has provided millions of work opportunities to unemployed South Africans since its inception. “Cabinet was informed that 4 609 000 work opportunities were created during the Phase 4 medium-term of the EPWP, which covers the period 2019/2020 – 2022/23. “This figure represents a 92% achievement against the target set by the Sixth Administration to create five million work opportunities. Plans are in place to achieve the remaining 390 973 work opportunities by March 2024,” the Minister said. 

The EPWP has over the past 20 years created over 14 million work opportunities, making it the largest continuous public employment programme in the world. This milestone was achieved through ongoing partnerships with the private sector and civil society.

“These work opportunities have contributed to skills development for the participants, as they were created under a range of EPWP projects in the tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, social projects and projects led by women,” Ntshavheni said.

Of the 4 609 000 work opportunities, the top three provinces where most work opportunities have been created are KwaZulu-Natal, which accounts for 1 064 000 opportunities (23%), followed by the Eastern Cape, with 903 789 (20%) and the Western Cape at 508 954 (11%). The Minister said while most of these opportunities are short- to medium-term; some have resulted in permanent employment.

Figures also indicate that more than 20% of participants obtained employment outside the EPWP. Many past EPWP participants have successfully completed diplomas in fields such as professional cookery and some are permanently employed in the hospitality industry. In addition to work opportunities, the EPWP also contributes much more in terms of service delivery, and improvements of amenities in communities and a better quality of life. 

Over R52 billion has been transferred to the EPWP participants as wages for work done in Phase 4. In addition, over 600 businesses were established through the programme. 

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