Government will disburse its R1-billion Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) integrated grant to eligible public bodies, while incentivising nonprofit organisations to create 1.4-million work opportunities in the year ahead, with a particular focus on rural communities.
“This will also allow the poorest members of society to generate income by providing services to their communities,” Public Works Minister Nathi Nhleko said at the department’s 2017/18 budget vote earlier this week.
He explained that, through the EPWP, a special programme aimed at providing socioeconomic infrastructure to rural communities will be implemented. This included the rural bridges programme, in partnership with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, which intends to provide Bailey-type bridges where needed.
“We piloted the project in the Eastern Cape and delivered four bridges, [bringing the total to 11 bridges delivered] during the 2016/17 financial year.
“These bridges are cost-effective and highly useful in rural areas, as they connect villages and create access to amenities for socioeconomic development. Bridge sites have been identified in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape for prioritisation,” Nhleko said.
In the 2016/17 financial year, government created 660 000 EPWP work opportunities.