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Participants in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) should have access to further
opportunities after being involved in the initiative, says Deputy Minister Bernice Swarts.
“While others will gain important skills as they earn an income, others too must be able to start
cooperatives and SMMEs that will be supported through our preferential procurement policies so
that these enterprises can graduate to become employers, helping the State to tackle poverty and
unemployment,” Swarts said when delivering her department’s Budget Vote in Cape Town on
The EPWP is a government-wide entity that is tasked with providing relief to citizens, especially the
The work opportunities offered through the program are in structured sectors and ensure that
participants are skilled in those sectors while they get a basic set stipend.
Swartz said in the department’s Q4 report, as of 17 May 2023, 990 686 work opportunities, against a
target of 1 023 569, was created.
“With the number of work opportunities reported to date since the start of the EPWP Phase IV, the
EPWP is currently on track to achieve its five-year target of five million work opportunities.
Over the past financial year, the EPWP contributed R12.924 billion in wages to poor households.
“The positive impact of the EPWP on local communities and the lives of the poor and unemployed
remains uncontested. The EPWP is also involved in a big effort to address the scarce and critical skills
required by the economy through training.
“Some of these skills that were provided in this past financial year were the National Certificate in
Road Works Construction in the Eastern Cape, National Certificate in Landscaping in Mpumalanga,
and Financial Literacy through the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
“The public bodies that report to the EPWP provided 40 252 training opportunities in the four EPWP
sectors,” Swarts said.
The department is also promoting the development of young people through training and
“In this regard, 8 250 work opportunities were created for youth through the National Youth Service,
as implemented by public bodies in different spheres of government,” the Deputy Minister said.
In a bid to improve good governance in the EPWP, Swarts said the department has developed an
EPWP Policy, which was approved by Cabinet in August 2022.
“The department hosted countrywide EPWP Policy consultation roadshows, where oral submissions
were solicited from various stakeholders on how to craft and refine the EPWP of the future.
“Since December 2022, the EPWP Branch has been working diligently to analyse the inputs received
and to incorporate these inputs into the EPWP Policy, which is expected to be finalised within this
financial year,” Swart said.
The EPWP is one of the government’s key programs aimed at providing poverty and income relief
through temporary work for the unemployed.