The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga will write to the MEC of Public Works, Roads and Transport, Gilleon Mashego, asking him to ensure that the province’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) benefits the unemployed in our province.
This follows the revelation that the Provincial Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport has only reached 30% of its set targets of employing EPWP workers despite spending almost 100% of allocated budget.
We want to know where the money has gone despite no workers having been employed.
Over the past three years, the DA noted that the Department has a continuously failed to secure employment of EPWP workers in their role of being a coordinating body for the programme and in their role of being a department which is labour intensive and able to provide much needed jobs to unemployed residents.
According to the department’s own recent Annual Report, between the 2019, 2020, 2021 financial years, the Department only managed to achieve 30% of the planned targets for Programme 5: Community Based Operations programme, whilst spending 99.7% of the budget for the programme.
The report further revealed that out of a target of 16 043 work opportunities to be created, the department only managed to create 6 909 employment. In addition to the above, the department sought to create 9 102 Full Time Equivalent opportunities in the 2019/2021 financial year; however, they only provided 2 265.
Being a coordinating body for the EPWP programme, the department should coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation and efficacy of the programme across the province regularly. However, despite this and out of a target of reporting 63 246 work opportunities, the department was only able to achieve 32 351 work opportunities reported.
Instances like this is extremely worrisome given the fact that this financial year was the most devastating on the residents of the province due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the related lockdown and the significant loss of jobs.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2020 revealed that between quarters 2 and 3, the official unemployment rate for the province increased by 14.5%- this was the highest increase nationally. In addition to the above, the expanded unemployment rate also increased to 45.6%.
It is for this reason that DA has written to MEC Mashego as he must prioritise the hiring of EPWP workers and to ensure that the community-based operations programme benefits the community in the coming year.