Deputy President David Mabuza says government is working towards reconfiguring the Community Works Programme (CWP) to ensure that it has a bigger impact on reducing poverty.
“For as long as our economy is not generating sufficient number of jobs to absorb the majority of the poor and unemployed, government will continue to create work opportunities for the unemployed, especially the youth and women.
“We are currently working on reconfiguration of our anti-poverty programme in order to improve better coordination, integration and synergies. Poor coordination and monitoring sometimes undermines the impact of this programme.
“The extent of up-scaling this programme will be informed by the available budget,” he said.
ANC MP from the Free State, Seiso Mohai, had asked the Deputy President whether there were any plans to expand the programme as a safety net for the poor, especially for the youth and women; and whether government was meeting the targets set out for the Community Works Programme to ensure it employs one million people by 2019.
The Deputy President said the programme is designed to alleviate poverty through the provision of work opportunities for poor and unemployed people, who are living in socio-economically depressed urban and rural areas including those under traditional authorities.
The programme, he said, forms part of the broad Public Employment Programme that is coordinated by the Department of Public Works.
“The Community Works Programme has provided 729 257 work opportunities over the MTEF (annual, rolling three-year expenditure planning) period.
“The programme has a footprint in all local and metropolitan municipalities and is being implemented in 226 sites.
“As at end of March 2018, the female participation rate in Community Works Programme stands at 78%, far above the set target of 55%, and the youth participation rate at 37%,” Mabuza said.
He said the programme was contributing to employment in sectors like agriculture, which includes the maintenance of community food gardens in schools, clinics, early childhood development centres and communal lands.
He said that the produce harvested from the community gardens helped feed the elderly as well as orphaned and vulnerable children.
“The second most common work output is in the environmental and community services sectors where public spaces and facilities were cleaned or maintained such as schools, hospitals, sports fields, grave yards and parks.
“Illegal dumping sites were cleared and recycling projects were undertaken at some of the sites. Blocked storm water drainage systems were unblocked, thus preventing potential flooding and saving lives.”