Gauteng allocates more money to EPWP 06 March 2006 Gauteng MEC for Finance, Paul Mashatile allocated more money to the province’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) when he tabled the provincial budget for the financial year 2007/08. The budget speech was delivered to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 26 February 2007. MEC Mashatile said the budget allocation is aimed at strengthening the implementation of EPWP in the province. Since its launch by President Mbeki in 2004, the Expanded Public Works Programme has created temporary work and skills for absorption into the labour market for nearly 15 thousand unemployed people in Gauteng alone. The national target for the 2007 /08 financial year is to create a further 20 000 work opportunities. During his state of the nation address to parliament on …, President Thabo Mbeki said” Through the expanded public works programme we have been able to provide the dignity that comes with earning an income, to more than 14 991 people. In the coming year we will provide opportunities for 20 000 people of whom 40% will be women, 30% youth and 2% people with disabilities.” Although the Gauteng provincial government is confident that it will be able to push for this target, it identified challenges that made it necessary to allocate more money to the programme to ensure its successful implementation during this financial year. As implementors of the programme in Gauteng, the Department of Public Transport Roads and Works has come up with a programme of action for the 2007/8 in which it spells out what needs to be done to respond to these identified challenges. The programme of action seeks to engage in a drive to identify additional community based EPWP projects that can be implemented with the help and support of local government. Amongst others, the Departmental programme of action looks at idea of establishing an EPWP Fund. It also talks of efforts that will be made to beef up the Directorate responsible for EPWP to enable it to better manage the implementation of the programme in Gauteng. The 2007 national budget speech by Minister Trevor Manuel, Premier Mbhazima Shilowa’s state of the province address and the Gauteng budget speech all emphasised the importance of EPWP as a priority project of both the national and provincial spheres.
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