GDID fails to meet EPWP targets while unemployed residents are crying for jobs

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has once again failed the residents and by not fulfilling its mandate to create several Expanded Public Works Programme work opportunities for the fourth quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year. This appears to be a trend, as the department has also failed to meet its EPWP targets during the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

Job creation by the government is important, especially through a programme like the EPWP, as it provides our unemployed residents who are unable to further their studies with critical workplace skills that will empower them to find long-term gainful employment in the future. In addition, this programme also provides the opportunity for the development of an Artisan’s Programme.

According to the quarterly report, GDID had only created 10 807 EPWP work opportunities against a target of 24 608. Furthermore, the department also failed to meet its annual targets for the EPWP in the following sectors:

• 7,117 out of an annual target of 21,009 for the infrastructure sector.
• 19,280 out of an annual target of 22,369 for the social sector.
• 1,590 out of an annual target of 1,552 for the environmental sector.
• 14,610 out of an annual target of 55,039 for municipalities.

The fact that this department consistently fails to meet its EPWP targets is of great concern to the DA, given the fact that there are currently 2.6 million unemployed people in the province.

It is time that the GDID starts delivering on its mandate as it is one of the key drivers of economic opportunities in our province. GDID has a responsibility to act as coordinator of all EPWP programmes in other departments and when those departments fail GDID must take responsibility and be held accountable.

The time has now come for Premier David Makhura to get MEC Tasneem Motara in line. It is unacceptable that we have an entire department that continuously draws a salary, while the quarterly reports clearly indicate that they are not delivering on their set targets.

This behaviour has been allowed to continue because consequence management is non-existent within the Premier Makhura-led administration. The DA is once again calling on Premier Makhura to dissolve this department as Gauteng residents are the ones constantly bearing the brunt of this ill-equipped department.

Gauteng roads in atrocious state while residents fork out thousands on vehicle maintenance

It is extremely concerning that our roads are in an atrocious state while the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has underspent by R1.3 billion during the 2020/21 financial year. Residents in the province are forced to spend thousands of rand on vehicle maintenance due to damage by potholes and the general lack of maintenance of roads.

According to the fourth quarterly report of the department, R512 million was underspent for the quarter, bringing the total amount of underspending to R1.3 billion for the previous financial year. Underspending occurred in various programmes and the department has used Covid-19 as a scapegoat. This is unacceptable as this underspending occurred during the fourth quarter while the country is operating as normal with the various Covid-19 protocols in place. This means that by now the department should have these measures in place to ensure that critical programmes do not grind to a halt.

For this quarter, the department has failed to meet its target to visually assess 4,571km of surface road. No gravelled roads were visually assessed, yet a target of 1,359km was set. Furthermore, only 50 out of 100 construction and NMT jobs were created through the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) created, while zero EPWP Rehabilitation Job Opportunities were created against a target of 20. The department says this was not created due to the cancellation of tender P73/1 and Covid-19 national lockdown regulations.

Covid-19 has had far reaching implications on our economy and any more delays in ensuring that programmes within this department that are not only meant to create jobs, but to also ensure that our roads are properly maintained will be detrimental to the province which is also the economic hub of the country. Our roads are littered with potholes, which have not been fixed by this department.

This department should have by the third and fourth quarter of the financial year, adapted their programmes to ensure that the budget is utilized properly. With underspending by such a large amount, the department is at risk of losing additional funding come the next financial year.

Where we govern in the Western Cape our roads are maintained on a regular basis and the allocated budget is spent where it is needed the most. A Democratic Alliance (DA) government will ensure that all the Covid-19 protocols are put in place, so that service delivery can continue uninterrupted.  

The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo to ensure that the targets which were not met for this past financial year and which rolled over into the current financial year, are met. The only people who are on the losing end are the residents who are already cashed-strapped and cannot afford to spend the little they have on additional maintenance on vehicles or on increased public transport costs. It is unacceptable that our residents who are unemployed are not being given a fair opportunity to earn a living simply because government is unable to implement proper Covid-19 protocols.

Residents battle unemployment while GDID fails to meet EPWP targets

For two consecutive quarters in the last financial year, the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) failed to meet its job creation targets, while over 2.3 million people in the province remain unemployed. This provincial government has failed to rescue residents from the indignity of unemployment and has not provided opportunities to help put people onto the first rung of the ladder out of poverty.

According to the third quarter report for the last financial year, a target of 15 635 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) jobs was set, however only 6 962 work opportunities were created. For the fourth quarter of the year, a target of 20 847 jobs was set but only 12 782 were created. Furthermore, only 162 out of a planned target of 2500 beneficiaries completed the skills development programmes.

The unemployment rate has further been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic which practically brought the economy to a standstill.

EPWP programmes offered by government departments like GDID are critical if we want to ensure that participants are able to learn a skill on government programmes that makes them employable in the private sector and provide a livelihood for their families.

Failing to meet job creation targets is a disgraceful reflection on this department under the leadership of MEC Tasneem Motara.

A DA government would ensure that budget and resources set aside to provide temporary jobs for young people would be efficiently utilised as a stepping-stone to a better life.

The DA will be submitting questions to MEC Motara to find out what plans the GDID has in place to meet future job creation targets and what measures will be put in place to hold officials to account when these targets are not met.

It is unacceptable that our residents who are in dire need of jobs are not reached through the EPWP programme. The DA will continue to put pressure on government to ensure that these critical targets are met so that South Africans can start to recover their lives after so much damage has been inflicted on their livelihoods.

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GDID throws in the towel in terms of the administration of EPWP

The Extended Public Works Program (EPWP) is a government programme designed to alleviate poverty and provide income relief through temporary work for the unemployed to carry out socially useful activities.

Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development, which is responsible for the co-ordination of the programme across all government departments, has since its inception in Gauteng, provided the administrative services for the programme such as sourcing and on-boarding new applicants, monitoring attendance, payment of participants and skills development.

The poor quality of the administration of the programme has caused much unhappiness in terms of allegations of political patronage, nepotism, corruption, non- or inconsistent payment and participants exiting the programme without any marketable skills. Attempts to fix these problems have failed spectacularly because of poor management skills within the department.

Thus, it came a shock at a recent portfolio committee meeting when an announcement was made that the department would continue to co-ordinate the programme, but would give up the administration thereof. That responsibility is now passed on to each user department to administer the process within its own confines.

This poor decision is likely to cause chaos and is tantamount to spreading the ‘virus’ of weak management from one department across the whole administration. Instead of dealing decisively with the problems, Infrastructure Development has capitulated and the chaos experienced in the past will be evident everywhere.

In addition, it was announced that the Zivuseni poverty alleviation programme, a sub-program of EPWP, would be ditched by the Infrastructure department, ostensibly because of a lack of budget.

Walking away from the problem and passing it onto others is not only cowardly, but is a clear indication that the political leadership are amateurs and lack the experience required to make sensible decisions.

No wonder that everything government touches is destroyed.

GDID spends budget, but doesn’t meet targets

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disappointed to learn that the Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has once again failed to meet its targets set for the first quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year.

This information was revealed in the department’s first quarter report, which indicated that only 50% of the targets were fully met, despite 97% of the budget being spent.

Some of the targets that were not met include BEE targets, the appointment of candidates in learnerships, the completion of projects, maintenance, statutory inspection of hospital boilers, lifts and fire-fighting equipment as well as the number of unemployed people placed on EPWP programmes.

In addition, the department has extreme difficulty in completing its projects within the stipulated time frame and within budget. Furthermore, there is no expertise or resources available to manage the R43 billion property portfolio.

According to the department some of these targets were not met due to poor performance by contractors, community protests and IT connectivity problems.

This shocking performance by the department under the new MEC, Tasneem Motara, indicates that there is no political will to turn around a department that has had consistent poor performance over the last five years.

It is high-time that the MEC takes the bull by the horns and holds her officials to account and takes action where needed. If this is not done then we will be saddled with five more years of poor performance.

I will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain exactly what measures are being put in place to ensure that this department meets all its targets set for the 2019/2020 financial year.

EPWP Kalafong infections: Managament ‘not aware of screening requirements’

Expanded Public Works Participants (EPWP) working at the Kalafong hospital have claimed that they are being exposed to infections at the hospital and were getting ill.

MEC for Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara visited the hospital and met with hospital management and the EPWP participants.

The severity of the issues raised by these participants was downplayed by MEC Motara.

The risk to EPWP participants is a direct result of the ineptitude of the EPWP Programme management.

There is no Memorandum of Understanding or any contract between the Gauteng Government and the participating government institutions highlighting the responsibilities of each of the role-players.

EPWP management were not aware of the requirement that all EPWP participants placed at the hospital were required to undergo a medical screening examination on entry into the programme.

This medical screening enables the EPWP programme to determine if any acquired infection or illness was a pre-existing condition before the participants joined the programme.

Since they were not aware of the requirement, they were not able to enforce the process.

It is now incumbent on the MEC to ensure that all the necessary contracts and process requirements are in place and understood by management in the department.

The status of the implementation of this process for participants working in all other hospitals in the province needs to be checked to ensure that risks to participants are reduced as a result of enforcing protocols.

Unvaccinated workers sick at Kalafong hospital

About 60 workers on the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) at the Kalafong Hospital in Pretoria complain that they have picked up various illnesses because they were not vaccinated beforehand like other workers.

The EPWP workers started at the hospital in February last year and have since suffered from ailments picked up from their work at the hospital.

They work as cleaners, general workers and kitchen staff.

They claim that they have spoken to management and to the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) which runs the EPWP, but have been brushed aside and threatened.

It seems that they were never vaccinated because they came from DID instead of being employed directly by the hospital. This oversight has affected their health, leading to frequent work absences.

I have referred this to the SA Human Rights Commission as their right to work in a safe environment has been violated.

This will hopefully lead to a swift intervention to assist them.

DA Gauteng Premier Candidate Msimanga unveils fair access to jobs plan

The Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Premier Candidate, Solly Msimanga unveiled his lottery-for-jobs plan to ensure fair access to EPWP job opportunities across the province that he will implement when elected to govern on 8 May 2019.

A lottery system is a proven remedy for one of the significant failures of the current ANC administration – providing fair access to jobs.

This great initiative will replace the current corrupt system which only benefits ANC-connected individuals.

Under the ANC-led Gauteng government, EPWP job opportunities are only for ANC-card carrying members, while the majority of our people are denied opportunities.

This alternative system will ensure that everyone will have an equal chance of getting a job. If you are putting in an honest day’s work, then the least government can do is give you the job honestly.

Too often we hear of women who are pressured to provide sexual favours in order to get jobs. This is not only a corrupt practice but also a serious offence. The perpetrators must be arrested and sent to jail.

The lottery system is free from political manipulation and creates fair access to jobs.

The DA will strive to ensure a job in every home.

Msimanga instituted the fair and equitable lottery system while he was Mayor of Tshwane which has worked for several years now.

It is high time that the province replicates such a good practice.

Gauteng residents have lost trust in government’s ability to provide fair access to employment opportunities. The dream of a prosperous and free South Africa is slipping between our fingers because of the corrupt ANC leadership.

Failing ANC can no longer be trusted with creating opportunities for unemployed youth

Today, I met hundreds of unemployed and frustrated youth of Tembisa. They raised serious issues including corruption and bribes for jobs.

The youth claim that the EPWP jobs are only for ANC cardholders and that the government is failing to create fair access to job opportunities.

We also embarked on an oversight inspection of the Youth Employment Service (YES) , a centre which is critical to developing the skills of our unemployed is not properly marketed and only benefits a few individuals.

The YES centre is driven by a private sector initiatives which demonstrates the important role that the private sector plays in creating jobs and growing the economy.

Through these initiatives, there is a greater chance for fair access to jobs since there is no political interference in determining the beneficiaries.

The DA is the only Party that has a plan to opening fair access to real, long-term jobs by eradicating corruption and creating a conducive environment for the economy to grow.

Gauteng Government’s EPWP programme having little impact on the lives of residents

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), after years of defending its position, has finally admitted that the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the way it’s implemented by both local and provincial government in Gauteng, is in a shambles.

At a stakeholder meeting with the residents of Kagiso in the West Rand, Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo admitted that the program was confusing and poorly administered.

MEC Mamabolo’s comments came about as a result of numerous complaints from residents about the fact that many participants of the EPWP were not paid on time or sometimes not at all, received differing amounts as a stipend every month, had unknown deductions made from the stipend and were not provided with skills or a certificate of participation in the program.

In addition, the program caused confusion by being called different names by different implementing agencies and participants being paid different amounts for the same work done.

The major flaw of the EPWP programme at a local level has been the allegations of corruption where ward councillors have turned the allocation of EPWP opportunities into party patronage networks. Some of these councillors have even allegedly gained financial rewards for “securing” job opportunities for people at a fee. In most cases, these positions have been exclusively reserved for ANC members.

The DA is opposed to the current set-up of the EPWP system in the province.

In the DA-run City of Cape Town, EPWP participants are selected in a lotto-style manner to rid the system of bias and political interference. In the municipalities where the DA governs in Gauteng, similar systems will be put into place to ensure fairness of selection.

Likewise, skills transfer is highly important and is a priority for the DA. Participants of EPWP programmes should obtain skills that they can then take with them to obtain better jobs and become self-sufficient.

The DA will continue to monitor the GPG’s roll-out of their EPWP programme whilst continuing to improve the lives of residents in the cities where we govern.