14 million work opportunities created by EPWP over the last 20 years

Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said this milestone was achieved through continuous partnerships with the private sector and civil society. File picture: Jairus Mmutle GCIS

Published Feb 29, 2024


Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Thursday that the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has over the past 20 years created more than 14 million work opportunities.

Ntshavheni said this achievement makes the programme, which provides work opportunities to unemployed South Africans, the largest continuous public employment programme in the world.

“The year 2024 marks 20 years of the existence of the EPWP, which represents one of South Africa’s success stories of mass public employment programmes and is by far one of the largest poverty alleviation initiatives,” she said.

The minister said this milestone was achieved through continuous partnerships with the private sector and civil society.

She said these work opportunities have contributed to skills development for the participants as they were created under a range of EPWP projects in tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, social projects and projects led by women.

“Cabinet was informed that 4 609 000 work opportunities were created during Phase 4 medium term of the EPWP, which covers the period 2019/2020 – 2022/23.

“This figure represents a 92% achievement against the target set by the Sixth Administration to create five million work opportunities,” she said.

According to Ntshavheni, plans are in place to achieve the remaining 390 973 work opportunities by March 2024.

Of the 4 609 000 work opportunities, the top three provinces where most work opportunities have been created are:

  • KwaZulu-Natal, which accounts for 1 064 000 opportunities (23%)
  • Eastern Cape, with 903 789 (20%)
  • Western Cape at 508 954 (11%).

The minister said while most of these opportunities are short term to medium term, some have resulted in permanent employment, adding that figures indicate that more than 20% of participants obtained employment outside the EPWP.

“Many past EPWP participants have successfully completed diplomas in fields such as professional cookery and some are permanently employed in the hospitality industry. In addition to work opportunities, the EPWP also contributes much more in terms of service delivery, and improvements of amenities in communities and a better quality of life,” said Ntshavheni.

Ntshavheni said that over R52 billion has been transferred to the EPWP participants as wages for work done in Phase IV.

She added that over 600 businesses were established through the programme.

The Mercury