The effectiveness of the Expanded Public Works Programme on job creation: a look at a South African metropolitan municipality
at the 2003 Growth and Development Summit, is to increase the participation of unskilled and unemployed people in the economy of the country. The EPWP has three objectives: providing employment to the unemployed, building the skills base of the unskilled, and building public infrastructure in the form of roads, schools and other amenities. In multifaceted development programmes such as the EPWP, it is easy to lose sight of these respective goals. When this happens, various role players – depending on how they have conceptualised the Programme – focus on the narrow objectives that are of direct interest to them. This paper reports of a study that examined how the eThekwini Municipality’s EPWP has been conceptualised, with particular regard to job creation. It attempts to establish the extent to which the beneficiaries of the EPWP have been able to obtain and sustain decent jobs beyond their involvement in the Municipality’s EPWP. The study indicates how public officials and beneficiaries seem to have varying perceptions of what the EPWP aims to achieve, and it makes recommendations on how to reconcile these divergent views to yield sustainable benefits for both public officials and project beneficiaries. The study was largely qualitative, seeking to establish people’s views and perceptions on the Programme, and was packaged with one-on-one interviews with selected officials to gain a deeper understanding of the situation.
Key words: Public Works Programmes, job creation, poverty relief, local governance