EPWP marks 20 years with 92% success in creating 14 million jobs

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Newspapers

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: Itumeleng English / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 1, 2024


Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Thursday said the expanded public works programme (EPWP) has recorded 92% achievement against the target set by the sixth administration to create five million work opportunities.

Addressing the media at a post-Cabinet briefing, Ntshavheni said as the EPWP marked 20 years of its existence, the Cabinet received a briefing on the implementation and achievements of the EPWP.

“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 continuous 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,” she said.

Ntshavheni also said the Cabinet was briefed that 4 609 000 work opportunities were created between 2019-20 and 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,” she 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%).” Ntshavheni said although most of the opportunities were 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.”

She said over R52 billion has been transferred to the EPWP participants as wages for work done and over 600 businesses were established through the programme.

Ntshavheni said the Cabinet called on all sectors to support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which is helping to provide work and livelihood opportunities to millions of South Africans.

This happens as Statistics South Africa’s recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey showed a slight rise in the country’s unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 32.1% from 31.9% in the third quarter. The survey also showed that the informal sector employment increased by 124 000, finance by 128 000 jobs, transport by 57 000, mining by 37 000 jobs and private households by 18 000 jobs.

“While our economy continues to create jobs, it is not at the level that the government aims to achieve in order to address the challenge of unemployment.”

The minister said Cabinet welcomed the public-private partnership agreement between Sasol and Transnet Freight Rail to improve the reliability of rail transport. Transnet Freight Rail will use its fleet of 128 ammonia tankers to deliver ammonia from Sasol facilities to customers and in return Sasol will fund the maintenance and repair programme of the fleet under a five-year agreement.

“The partnership advances work on the country’s Freight Logistics Roadmap to turn around the sector.

This partnership demonstrates how together we can overcome our pressing challenges.”

Meanwhile, Ntshavheni said she continued to experience load shedding at her ministerial house.

She said she resided in her private residence in Pretoria and that she did not have a generator at her Cape Town Ministerial house.

“In my lived experience I don’t have generators in my house. In Cape Town I am still load shed like any other person so maybe they are still en route,” Ntshavheni said.

Cape Times