Expanded Public Works Programme To Be Implemented

Durban - National government is set to pour more resources into municipalities so that they can fully exploit the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

The Department of Public Works is expected to meet with the MECs and mayors from the nine provinces soon to ascertain the next step in their respective EPWP programmes.

In addition to financial support, mayors will receive assistance in technical areas.

"Municipalities will receive technical support across all EPWP sectors to optimise the implementation of EPWP and will be provided in the form of monitoring and evaluation, training, enterprise development of all municipal projects," said Doidge, speaking at the end of a three-day EPWP Summit in Durban.

The summit found that work opportunities were being created but not properly reported by the municipalities. The department therefore will be developing an implementation manual.

Effective reporting of EPWP projects allows municipalities to access incentives grants, which is something KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng has managed to do efficiently.

The minister explained that a threshold has to be reached before the grant kicks in, and is only applicable to cities. The longer the work opportunities last, the more incentives are dished out, meaning more funds are available to create other jobs.

According to the department, a work opportunity is defined as 100 days of work and the full-time equivalent is equal to 230 working days.
However, Doidge said municipalities too must claim full ownership of the EPWP programmes that have been implemented to create work opportunities using intensive labour.

The minister described the summit as a success. "We exemplified our respect and appreciation for the critical role that has, can and must be played by our local sphere of government in implementing this cutting edge socio-economic programme," said Doidge.

The minister believed that in order for phase two of the programme - which runs from 2009 until 2014 - to attain further success, action must follow immediately.

KwaZulu-Natal has created the highest number of work opportunities mainly in the infrastructure sector during the first quarter of the 2010/11 financial year.

Deputy Director General Stanley Henderson said the two main reasons for the province's success related to good reporting practices and the long standing Zibambele project - which is a routine road maintenance programme that uses labour intensive methods.

By Kemantha Govender
- BuaNews