Public Works boost for KZN

2009-08-27 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government received accolades and a hefty financial boost yesterday for exceeding job creation in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in which President Jacob Zuma committed to creating 500 000 jobs by December.

National Minister for Public Works Geoff Doidge handed a cheque of R19 million to KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize’s government for exceeding the target of creating 25 912 jobs through EPWP. The provincial government created more than 32 000 jobs in the infrastructure sector in the first quarter of this year.

The labour-intensive job creation programme was co-ordinated by the Department of Transport through its infrastructure development programmes.

Doidge said the money is an incentive for the provincial government to create further employment opportunities. The total incentive allocated to the province is R84 million.

KwaZulu-Natal is the first province in the country to meet and exceed its target.

Doidge commended the provincial government for successfully implementing phase one and signed the implementation protocol for the second phase of job creation and commitment to good corporate governance.

“This (EPWP) is one of government’s attempts at fighting unemployment with the bias on rural areas,” said Doidge.

The minister said that KZN will lead the government’s aim of creating 4,5 million jobs by 2014.

Mkhize said the R19 million will be ploughed back into the EPWP and that the provincial cabinet will meet in two weeks time to discuss how the incentive will be distributed.

Shedding light on some of the job creation aspects that the money will be spent on, Mkhize said that EPWP is not only about bricks and cement, but can include agriculture, social development initiatives, literacy programmes and the one home, one garden project.

Mkhize said his government’s achievements are positive news given that the province was hit hard by job losses of more than 117 000 as a result of the economic meltdown. He said that when the economy improves, the EPWP will have created more jobs and that would stand the province in good stead to grow its economy.

KZN Transport MEC Willies Mchunu praised his predecessor, national Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, for spearheading job creation through EPWP while he was the political head of the department.

Doidge said that his ministry and the Public Works provincial department will hold workshops with heads of municipalities and councillors for the implementation of EPWP at local government level.




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