Durban – Municipalities and officials have been warned to stop reducing workers enrolled for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) into mere waste pickers and treating them like slaves.
The municipalities and officials have also been warned not to treat the workers like slaves, bullying them around to fill up where there is a need for manpower.
According to the MEC for Public Works and Human Settlements in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Ntuthuko Mhlaba, these workers should be treated with “dignity and respect.”
WATCH: KZN MEC for public works, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba tell guests at the ongoing #KamosoAwards that the EPWP is not for pals and those enrolled should not be reduced to waste pickers. He says they must be deployed according to their skills so that they gain experience. @IOL pic.twitter.com/TuEA7DBMgf
— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) November 18, 2022
Mahlaba said this on Friday evening in Durban during the annual Kamoso (a Sotho word for tomorrow) awards which are aimed at rewarding state and non-state entities for implementing EPWP objectives and are organised by the Department of Public Works.
“Let me say this, one day we will stop giving municipalities money (for EPWP) and employ the workers ourselves because they employ their pals.
“This programme is not for friends and a political party, it’s a programme for the government to help our people to be equipped with skills,” Mahlaba said.
He then said these workers should not be reduced to waste pickers.
“These people should not be reduced to waster pickers, one worker would join you with a qualification in plumbing.
“Kindly deploy that person to the right department of plumbing so that when he or leaves with a skill,” he said.
Mahlaba emphasised that each EPWP worker should earn R102 a day and there should be no compromise on that, as all municipalities are given the budget for it.
Where possible, EPWP workers should be absorbed permanently – this is even though the programme is meant to give workers experience, not permanent jobs.
Speaking at the same awards, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Siboniso Duma said the attempts to demonise the EPWP should be shot down.
Duma was speaking in his capacity as the leader of government business in the KwaZulu-Natal government.
According to Duma, to some struggling families, the programme brings much-needed financial relief.
“If people want this programme out, they must propose something better, not criticise them for the sake of it,” he said.