People in areas where Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects were being undertaken could help eliminate corruption, Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin told Parliament’s public works portfolio committee.
“Let the community be the monitors and evaluators as much as us,” Cronin said.
He was responding to criticism from DA MP Kenneth Mubu.
“There is a perception among communities that the EPWP jobs are reserved for members of a particular party to the exclusion of others,” Mubu said.
Cronin agreed the EPWP programme should not be politicised, and suggested a lottery system, similar to the one piloted in the Western Cape, be used to choose beneficiaries.
He said when the public works department ran a programme in the province, it insisted the contractor advertised widely, indicated what skills were needed, and called community meetings.
“They have a lottery so that if they are looking for 50 participants for building a thing… people who are happy to make R71 a day, they will draw out 50 names.”
Phase three of the EPWP started in April and would run for five years.
Government aims to create around six million jobs during this phase, and wants to ensure the programmes deliver quality.
“It’s very important to put pressure on ourselves and really to try to reach the maximum amount of people through the programmes, but at the same time the danger is that you become over-fixated on the employment targets and don’t pay sufficient qualitative attention to other things,” Cronin said.
“We need to move much more towards also looking into what are the assets being created. Are they digging holes and filling them up again, or is there some real developmental impact?”