Public Works to promote job creation

Pretoria - The Public Works Department will do all it can to promote job creation, says Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

"For us, infrastructure development and job creation lie at the centre of the mandate and the strategic plan of the department," she said on Wednesday while presenting her budget vote in Parliament.

The minister said her department took a decision earlier to implement all its programmes, including the labour intensive Capital Works Programme to boost employment in South Africa.

The department will continue to use the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to create job opportunities, with phase 2 of the programme having completed its second year.

The programme was also helping municipalities to deal with the backlog of waste management, said Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

The Food for Waste programme is an innovation where communities collect waste and receive compensation in the form of food parcels. Currently, 10 municipalities are participating in the programme, with 19 others to be brought on board this financial year.

"As a lead department in the implementation of this programme, Public Works will continue to use this programme in the War against Poverty and unemployment, mindful of the limited resources at our disposal," said the minister.

The EPWP has been allocated R679 million for incentive grants to municipalities and R267 million for provinces.

"I have ordered the department to review the disbursements of the so-called performance based incentive grants to both provincial and local governments, so that we can satisfy ourselves that such measures are cost-effective and not open to abuse," said Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

The department has decided to redeploy some staff from the EPWP to local government to assist with capacity in the implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the EPWP programmes in order to fast track service delivery.

In the promotion of the EPWP and National Youth Service (NYS) programmes, "it is envisaged that the department will be in a better position to create job opportunities through direct employment compared to the private sector contractors," said the minister.

The department will also undertake an independent assessment of all its supply chain management processes and structure, including the review and restructuring the bid adjudication committees.

About 100 young people have been placed in the artisan training programme at the Pelindaba Technical Training Centre outside Tshwane, where they will be undergoing training in various trades, including welding. Government has undertaken to absorb them into employment after 18 months.

"This is in line with our decision to not only re-open our erstwhile technical workshops but to increase their capacity so that they become the centres of further skills generation, while at the same time, helping us to reduce the costs associated with unnecessary outsourcing of menial jobs, many of which can be performed in-house," said the minister. - BuaNews