The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has its origins in Growth and Development Summit (GDS) of 2003. At the Summit, four themes were adopted, one of which was ‘More jobs, better jobs, decent work for all’. The GDS agreed that public works programmes ‘can provide poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed to carry out socially useful activities’.
The Programme is a key government initiative, which contributes to Governments Policy Priorities in terms of decent work & sustainable livelihoods, education, health; rural development; food security & land reform and the fight against crime & corruption. EPWP subscribes to outcome 4 which states “Decent employment through inclusive economic growth.”
In 2004, the EPWP was launched and is currently still being implemented. The EPWP is a nationwide programme covering all spheres of government and state-owned enterprises. The Programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households in the short to medium-term. It is also a deliberate attempt by the public sector bodies to use expenditure on goods and services to create work opportunities for the unemployed. EPWP Projects employ workers on a temporary or on-going basis either by government, by contractors, or by 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 & Culture and Social, through:
- increasing the labour intensity of government-funded infrastructure projects under the Infrastructure sector,
- creating work opportunities through the Non-Profit Organisation Programme (NPO) and Community Work Programme (CWP) under the Non-State sector, and
- creating work opportunities in public environment and culture programmes under the Environment and Culture sector.
- creating work opportunities in public social programmes under the Social sector,
The EPWP also provides Training and Enterprise Development support, at a sub-programme level.