The Deputy Director General of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in the Department of Public Works, Stanley Henderson, said other African countries stood to learn a considerable amount from the South African programme.
The EPWP is a mass job creation ploy by the South African government, which authorities have recognised as a significant success, despite the wave of criticism its implementation has received.
One of its greatest challenges is that the beneficiaries of the EPWP programme are not in permanent employment and the wage cap is quite low, much to the irritation of trade union movements in South Africa.
However, Henderson – who received a Ghanaian delegation this week – said the positives far outweighed the negatives of the programme. He also thinks the Ghanaians would have seen considerable value in the trip.
“The delegation from Ghana spent the whole week (from 06 to 10 November 2017) touring EPWP projects in the country with the aim of studying best practices in labour intensive methods,” said Henderson.
“The study visit has been helpful to both countries (South Africa and Ghana) because we have been able to share between ourselves the best practices in the creation of work opportunities for our people through the use of labour intensive methods of construction,” said Henderson.
“We are humbled that the Government of Ghana selected the EPWP as a case study to develop their own model of labour based road construction,” added Henderson said.
The South African government consistently points to what its insists has been the creation of 779 251 job opportunities for previously unemployed South Africans. However, Henderson also pointed to what the programme had done for the development of small business in South Africa.
“As we speak, the EPWP’s Contractor Development Programme called Vuk’uphile is currently training 330 emerging contractors in the country. These contractors are being trained on labour intensive construction,” explained Henderson.
“With the work that we are doing through EPWP, we are certain that the delegates from Ghana are going back home with a better understanding of how we have ramp-up work creation through the EPWP and that they will use some of the work that we do in the Programme to enrich their own models of implementing projects through labour based methods.”