Expanded Public Works Programme

The Expanded Public Works Programme is one of government’s key programmes aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed.

The EPWP is a nationwide programme covering all spheres of government and SOEs.

The programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households, in the short to medium-term.

EPWP projects employ workers on a temporary or ongoing basis with government, contractors, or other non-governmental organisations under the Ministerial Conditions of Employment for the EPWP or learnership employment conditions.

The EPWP creates work opportunities in four sectors, namely infrastructure, non-State, environment and culture and social, by:

  • increasing the labour intensity of government-funded infrastructure projects
  • creating work opportunities through the Non-Profit Organisation programme and Community Work Programme
  • creating work opportunities in public environment and culture programmes
  • creating work opportunities in public social programmes.

The EPWP also provides training and enterprise development support, at a sub-programme level. Since 2012/13, the EPWP has created 4 185 426 work opportunities, and targets creating an additional 4 205 730 work opportunities by the end of 2018/19.

As the coordinator of the programme, the DPW will monitor the quality of the programme’s delivery of infrastructure and services to the poor (including training), and it will encourage greater participation in the programme and community ownership of it.

Spending on transfers and subsidies for the EPWP was set to increase from R1.7 billion in 2015/16 to R2.3 billion in 2018/19, at an average annual rate of 11%.

For coordinating the programme, the department projects spending R1 billion over the medium term, specifically on compensation of employees and goods and services; including R622 million for personnel providing support at the provincial level for administering the programme grants.

Department of Labour

The mandate of the Department of Labour is to regulate the labour market through policies and programmes developed in consultation with social partners, which are aimed at:

  • improving economic efficiency and productivity
  • facilitating decent employment creation
  • promoting labour standards and fundamental rights at work
  • providing adequate social safety nets to protect vulnerable workers
  • promoting and enforcing sound labour relations
  • eliminating inequality and discrimination in the workplace
  • enhancing occupational health and safety awareness and compliance in the workplace
  • giving value to social dialogue in the formulation of sound and responsive legislation and policies to attain labour market flexibility for competitiveness of enterprises that is balanced with the promotion of decent employment.

Beneficiaries' stories

The programme made a positive change in many people's lives. For beneficiary stories, go to the EPWP website.

Source: South Africa Yearbook 2015/2016