The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure:
a) The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has been mandated by Cabinet to oversee the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Collaboration between the DPWI and other government departments are essential to achieving the creation of work opportunities across the different spheres of government, including targeting 55% participation of youth in the EPWP projects. In this context, a number of mechanisms and partnerships are in place to maintain continued cooperation and collaboration with different public bodies covering the short- to medium-term timeframes, including:
i. Cooperative coordinating mechanisms that enable dialogue on matters impacting the EPWP among all public entities. Amongst these coordination structures is the EPWP National Coordinating Committee (NCC) comprising the EPWP EXCO and Lead Sector Departments (i.e. Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Department of Social Development and Department of Public Works) and all Provincial Departments of Public Works. Furthermore, similar coordination structures exist at a provincial and municipal district level.
ii. Additionally, there are short-term partnerships in place which focus on training and enterprise development promoting youth unemployment. Amongst these partnership are the following; the National Skills Fund for funding of training initiatives in the programme, Agricultural Sector Education Training Authority (AgriSETA) for the training of participants in various trades towards certification as artisans as well as with the Financial Service Conduct Authority (FSCA) for training of participants on basic financial literacy.
iii. Through a partnership with the International Labour Organisation, a partnership for the provision of the Start and Improve Your Business Programme training for participants who want to venture into enterprises post their participation in the EPWP has been put in place.
iv. In addition, the DPWI is in partnership with other departments and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) through the National Pathway Management Network coordinated by the Department of Employment and Labour to optimise the participation of youth in the different EPWP programmes.
b) In terms of long-term plans, the DPWI is currently engaging different stakeholders to finalise EPWP phase V proposals planned to be submitted to Cabinet for approval for implementation from 01 April 2024 to 31 March 2029. In addition, the DPWI is engaging the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services (MerSETA) and the AgriSETA to secure additional funding on training initiatives to ensure impactful outcomes. Likewise the DPWI is working with the Department of Defence (DoD) to identify other training areas that the DoD can support. It is anticipated that the present collaboration with the FSCA will continue in providing foundational financial literacy to new recruits in the EPWP. Engaging the private sector to help with finance and job placements for experiential learning for participants in the EPWP for different Learnership programmes is also another area being considered for the long term.