Mpumalanga failing its own its EPWP job targets

Issued by Bosman Grobler MPL – Spokesperson on Finance & Economic Development
14 Sep 2023 in Press Releases

The DA gravely concerned that the Mpumalanga Government Departments keep failing to reach their own Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) targets while the province has the second highest percentage of Expanded Unemployment Rate in South Africa. 

Being the custodian for the roll-out of the EPWP, the DA finds it concerning that the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport failed dismally to achieve targets which have been set at the first quarter of 2023/2024. According to their own report, the department set themselves a target of 3 059 EPWP jobs in the first quarter, but they only managed to create a mere 331 EPWP jobs. This is concerning taking into consideration that at 49,5%, Mpumalanga has the second highest percentage of expanded unemployment rate in South Africa after the North West Province at 53,5%.

More disappointing, the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QFLS) published by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday (15 August), shows that Mpumalanga is one of only three (3) provinces in South Africa that lost jobs in the first quarter of 2023/2024. Free State lost 77 000 jobs, North West lost 43 000, and Mpumalanga lost 9 000 jobs. All the other six (6) provinces reported significant increases in employment. As expected, the DA-led Western Cape Government added 263 000 new jobs over the last year, more than any other province.

In the first quarter of 2023/2024 alone, 56 000 new jobs were created in the Western Cape. This literally means that you are more likely to get a job in the DA-led Western Cape Province than any other province in South Africa. The QLFS also revealed that the DA-led Western Cape is the only province that has consistently been well below the South African average official unemployment rate over the past ten years.

To date, Mpumalanga also seems to be falling short on the job massification project 2023/24 which was undertaken by the office of Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane. In this regard, the DA finds it concerning that out of a target of 53 708 jobs to be created at both a provincial and local level, just 18 996 jobs were created thus far.

The DA is also concerned that 77% of Mpumalanga residents are currently relying on social grants for survival, according to the recent Stats SA General Household Survey.

In light of the above, the DA has written to both the MEC for the Department of Public Works,Roads and Transport, Mandla Ndlovu, and Premier Msthweni-Tsipane asking them to ensure EPWP and other vacant posts in the provincial government departments are filled as a matter of urgency to help in eradicating the ever-increasing unemployment rate in the province.