The City of Cape Town aims to create 42,500 temporary employment opportunities through its Expanded Public Works Programme in the 2015/16 financial year – up from 40,000 in the previous financial year.
The Expanded Public Works Programme is a National Government initiative launched in 2004, with the aim of giving unemployed South Africans a hand up through temporary jobs to earn some form of income, but also to acquire skills that could make them more employable.
Since 2011, the City of Cape Town has created more than 140,000 temporary work opportunities for unemployed residents through this programme. By the end of June 2016, it is envisaged that this number will increase to just over 180,000. The dedicated budget in the last four financial years, including the new financial year, stands at R466m, excluding normal line budgets where EPWP jobs are created through service providers.
“Every year, the various City departments are required to submit plans as to how they will contribute to the EPWP employment scheme. Our biggest contributor is Utility Services, in particular the Solid Waste Management Department where a number of the job seekers are accommodated. Transport for Cape Town, Human Settlements and Community Services are the other three top employers within the City for the programme. In fact, these four directorates were responsible for nearly 75% of all work opportunities created in the last financial year,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.
Of the 42,500 work opportunities set as a target for the 2015/16 financial year, more than 76% will be accommodated in Utility Services, Transport for Cape Town, Human Settlements and Community Services.
“One of the challenges is getting some job seekers to understand that the opportunities are temporary in nature and that there is no guarantee of full-time employment, even though we have a standard induction programme where we address these issues. More and more, we are facing undue pressure from individuals who demand permanent employment after completing their stint on the EPWP. Unfortunately, that is not how the programme works. It is quite literally a stepping stone that offers a short- to medium-term income, but more importantly the opportunity to acquire skills that can improve an individual’s employability in the general job market,” added Councillor Little.
The Expanded Public Works Programme is designed to provide temporary employment opportunities to as many unemployed residents as possible. Currently, there are 402,701 people registered on the City’s job seekers database. EPWP employment periods vary from project to project. In certain circumstances a project’s timeline may be extended for operational reasons, which may lead to some workers gaining a further period of employment. The type of work opportunities under the programme include:
- Administrative assistance
- General work supporting existing service delivery projects such as cleaning and minor maintenance
- Youth development work
- Stonemasonry work
- River and alien vegetation clearing
- Community care
All unemployed residents who are interested and willing to work on the programme are required to register at their nearest sub council office to be considered for opportunities as and when they become available. Job seekers are also reminded to update their information regularly (e.g. a change in telephone number or physical address) and to visit the sub council offices at least once every 12 months to ensure that their registration remains valid.