Remarks by Minister Patricia De Lille at the announcement of phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stiumulus ProgrammeE
We are very pleased to be announcing phase 2 of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) which is in addition to both the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the Community Work Programme (CWP), and builds on lessons learned from both of these programmes.
The PESP was announced last year as one of the responses for economic relief during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Job creation initiatives such as these by government must complement job creation efforts by the private sector.
As government our role ultimately is to create the conditions conducive for economic growth and job creation by the private sector.
The PESP has demonstrated our capacity to take public employment and other forms of publicly-funded support to a new scale, with the achievement of over 550,000 jobs and livelihood opportunities and more still in implementation.
The PESP has focused on ensuring that the jobs created provide meaningful work experience for participants that will assist them on their pathways into the wider labour market, making participants “work-ready” as the economic recovery creates more sustainable jobs.
As government our employment efforts are also focused on ensuring that specific targets are set for the employment of women, youth and people with disabilities.
Women are the backbone of many families and our country also has many single mother headed households.
The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by StatsSA in August painted a bleak picture when it revealed that the South African labour market is more favourable to men than it is to women.
COVID 19 has exposed the fault lines in our economy and many families especially mothers have struggled to put food on the table during this period.
The PESP has also focused on ensuring that the work performed creates real public value, which can be seen and felt by the communities in which it takes place.
For example, the more than 300,000 school assistants who were employed through the stimulus relieved the burden on teachers during a period in which they had a significantly higher workload due to COVID-19.
Catchment management programmes delivered cleaner water to communities.
Each programme has fulfilled an important societal need and many have left a lasting impact.
In addition to providing overall support for the stimulus, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure was able to expand its own employment programmes in infrastructure with additional funding in Phase 1.
As DPWI we were able to employ graduates in various projects in the department as part of the PESP.
This included the employment of graduates for the Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme, as well as artisans and professionals in facilities management and waste management.
During the 2020/21 financial year, DPWI appointed 1 886 graduates.
Many of these graduates were able to secure external employment since being part of the PESP.
This has been one of the noted successes of the programme as these graduates could go into their private sector jobs with some experience from the PESP.
For the current financial year, the department has recruited 1 296 graduates which comprises 737 females and 559 males and 98% youth in all nine provinces.
These graduates have been employed in DPWI’s various regional offices to work on the rural bridges programme, facilities management, real estate branch and administrative work.
The urgency of delivery created a need for innovation to reach scale. This has included the use of digital platforms for recruitment and application processes that have enhanced transparency and accessibility.
The Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme has encouraged real innovation in how we deliver public employment programmes across government, from how we recruit participants to the type of work that is supported.
We are determined to incorporate these lessons going forward to improve the impact of public employment across the board.
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