Overview of EPWP


The Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) is a programme designed to alleviate poverty through the creation of work opportunities for the unemployed, using public sector expenditure. It builds on existing best-practice government infrastructure and social programmes, either by deepening their labour absorption or extending them.The goal of the EPWP Phase 2, launched in April 2009 at the University of the Western Cape, is to create two-million full time equivalent (FTE) jobs for poor and unemployed people in South Africa so as to contribute to halving unemployment by 2014 through the delivery of public and community services. This translates to 4,5 million (short and ongoing) work opportunities at an estimated average duration of employment of 100 days. This will scale up from 500 000 work opportunities in 2009 to 1,5 million in 2014

Public bodies from all spheres of government (in terms of their normal mandates and budgets) and the non-state sector (supported by government incentives) are expected to deliberately optimise the creation of work opportunities for unemployed and poor people in South Africa through the delivery of public and community services. Training and enterprise development will be implemented in sector specific programmes to enhance service delivery and beneficiary wellbeingIn the Free State, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure coordinates the Expanded Public Works Programmes and a Provincial Coordinating Committee has been established to improve coordination and reporting and further ensure that all government departments and public bodies embrace the EPWP principles.


The EPWP Phase 2 is implemented in four key sectors. These are:

Infrastructure sector

The infrastructure sector focuses on the maintenance and upgrading of the provincial infrastructure such as social infrastructure, i.e. educational facilities, healthcare facilities, maintenance of roads, and upgrading and renovation of offices. The sector is led by the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in partnership with the Departments of Transport, Provincial and Local Government, Water Affairs and Forestry, Minerals and Energy, and Sports and Recreation. During Phase 1, most projects were implemented by the provinces and municipalities and this has continued in the second phase of the programme.So far, 7 613 work opportunities have been created through this sector out of which 66% are youth, 29% women, and 0.21% people living with disabilities.

Environmental and cultural sector

This sector promotes a clean and eco-friendly environment, i.e. cleaning and greening, as well as the cultural diversity of our country. The sector plan aims to create 201703 jobs through programmes such as Agriculture’s Land Care; the People and Parks, Coastal Care, Sustainable Land-based Livelihoods, Cleaning up SA, Growing a Tourism Economy, and the Working for Water, Wetlands, and Fire programmes.To date, this sector has created over 6 113 work opportunities of which 62% are youth, 57% women, and 0.16% people living with disabilities.

Non-state sector

The sector comprises of two sets of programmes:

  • The first set consists of institutional based programmes where non-state actors, typically not-for-profit organisations, faith based organisations, and community based organisations develop programmes that could create an income for large numbers of individuals through socially constructive activities. The type of initiative would be determined by the non-state actor, with the state providing partial funding for specified costs and wages.
  • The second set of programmes are area based programmes involving local organisations so as to support initiatives that create employment in ways that build public or community level goods and services. This approach offers considerable scope for work activities to be determined by the unique needs of a community and implemented at community level with partial funding from the state.
  • The non-state sector has created about 4 092 work opportunities of which 60% are youth, 57% women, and 2.17% people living with disabilities.

Social sector

The social sector currently comprises of the departments of Social Development, Education, and Health. Much of the work of these three Departments relies on the input of volunteers and civil society organisations and are implemented through the EPWP methods.Early Childhood Development and Home Community Based Care have been selected as the lead pilot programmes for the social sector EPWP. Both programmes are highly labour intensive. The EPWP provides an opportunity to work with these volunteers and develop their skills base and capacity to deliver quality service in an area of great need.

Kamoso Awards

When the Kamoso Awards were first held in 2007, the aim of the National Department of Public Works in its role as the lead coordinator of the programme was to encourage, motivate, and reward the best performing public bodies in the creation of work opportunities for our people. This motivation is still relevant. The categories for the Kamoso Awards have increased over the years from 15 categories in 2008 to 24 categories in 2009, and 27 categories in 2011. The Kamoso Awards serves as a vital motivating occasion for EPWP implementers and the cadre of professional civil servants in all three spheres of government coordinating the programme. Three provincial Expanded Public Works Programme projects were nominated for the Kamoso Awards held on the 07 March 2011. These nominations were:

  • Hola le Rona Early Childhood Development Centre, Maluti a Phofung in the Social Sector Best Province: Early Childhood Development
  • The Ngwathe Local Municipality in the Social Sector, Best Local Municipality
  • The Progressive Youth Development Organisation from Botshabelo in the Non State Sector, Best Province
  • The Free State produced the winner in the Non State Sector Best Province Category.