The role of Public Works Programmes in tackling poverty and unemployment Case study : The South African Expanded Public Works Programme in the North West Province (2004-2016)
The international norm and practice of Public Works Programmes was adopted and put in place in South Africa in the form of the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWPs) in 2004. The purpose of this programme was and is still to provide temporary employment, skills development and training to the unemployed, unskilled and semi-skilled. The intention was to make the beneficiaries of this programme relevant to the labour market demands and increase their employability. This study explores the role of EPWP in creating employment and reducing poverty in South Africa with specific focus on the North West Province. Using quantitative and qualitative data, information from policy and evaluation reports of EPWP, the researcher analyzes programme effectiveness in creating employment and reducing poverty. Considering that North West Province was standing at an unemployment rate of 43% in the first quarter of 2016, this paper reveals that the EPWP is not a sustainable solution to resolving the challenges of unemployment and poverty. This study argues that the EPWP is one of the international norms selected by the South African government as a suitable strategy designed to address unemployment and yet the results are not measurable or development contributory. Overall, this study explores public works programmes drawing lessons from other states like Botswana and Ethiopia among others, to help understand and further improve on the EPWP in the North West Province and South Africa at large.
- Humanities