My experience with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)
The EPWP is a South African National programme meant to create employment opportunity for the unemployed women, the youth and people with disabilities in areas were government infrastructure projects are taking place.
This initiative is monitored and overseen by the National Department of Public works with the assistance of the provincial departments. The objective is to empower the general populace of South Africa through skills transfer so that the newly acquired skills can be used in future projects and in getting employment anywhere else in South Africa.
Metropolitan Municipalities like Ekurhuleni were found strategic in implementing this EPWP program. This programme has legal and policy framework.
I quote from literature from Ekurhuleni:
“The National EPWP framework requires that Local Governments develop EPWP policies (which shall be reviewed annually) embedded within the Integrated Development Plan.
The EPWP Policy is expected to promote EPWP principles and the restructuring of the Local Government activities to facilitate and create greater employment opportunities per unit of expenditure.
It is envisaged that the EPWP Policy shall enhance the delivery capacity of Ekurhuleni Metro by addressing socioeconomic challenges on a more integrated and coordinated approach to support the implementation of the EPWP for the holistic development of society.”
Metropolitan Municipalities like Ekurhuleni, which I will use as an example, came up with its policy to promote EPWP principles and to form a foundation for Ekurhuleni departments to implement the programme uniformly.
Their EPWP policy covers Social Sector Projects, Infrastructure Sector Projects Environment and Cultural Sector and social sector projects. I shall dwell on the Infrastructure sector for those who find themselves involved with this EPWP program like myself.
EPWP Project Conditionalities on the Infrastructure Sector
The following types of projects are to be implemented subject to EPWP planning and performance requirements for the Hard Hat Professional.
· Road construction and maintenance
· Construction of buildings and also the maintenance part of all the buildings
· Low traffic volume roads and rural roads
· Basic Infrastructure services, including water, sewer reticulation, sanitation, reservoirs, dams
· and Any other economic and social infrastructure
Once a Contractor is awarded a project on any of the above types of projects, you will be furnished with a suite of documents and templates from Ekurhuleni as listed below:
1. Policy of EPWP
2. Contract of employment on EPWP programme
3. Register for the EPWP programme
4. Community Returns Earnings (CRE) reports templates
5. Ekurhuleni EPWP template
6. EPWP memo targets
7. EPWP checklist
The policy document explains everything one needs to know about the EPWP programme while the templates guide you on the standard reporting format. These reports are required to be submitted to Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality on monthly bases until the project is completed.
Implementation of the EPWP programme at the project level
The EPWP programme has successfully mixed business with politics. Politics comes with populism and business comes with driving profits.
The EPWP projects are genuine infrastructure developmental in outlook for they satisfy all conditions for the project. They have defined scope, budget, time, scope, quality and undefined politics which can turn your project into a success or failure.
The challenge is integrating professionalism and politics to deliver the project successfully. Balancing the dynamics of the two has led to some conflict-free delivery of projects.
The EPWP projects are in Townships in the 112 wards of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. Each ward has a political structure with the councillor at the top. The councillor will be aware of the project in their Ward and the budget of the project.
The budget also determines the number of people who are going to be employed on the project (Xperson/R1m). You cannot employ less.
There is the Community Liaison Officer who is appointed by the Councilor who will recruit all the EPWP employees from the same Ward for you. You have to accept the team as long as it is composed of women, youth, and disabled.
These people are taken for medicals, provided with PPE and few skilled personnel from your company. The skilled personnel train them on the job. A few are selected to attend SAQA and CETA accredited training to obtain certificates which they will you use to get employment in other projects.
Thus the EPWP programme achieves its objective of employment creation, transfer of skills, and achievement of accredited training for the generality of the South Africans.
The above is achieved at Ward level using the project budget. The winners are the Contractor, the Client, the community, and m