Scores of unemployed Mamelodi residents were following Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga’s every move when he did a walkabout at Denlyn Shopping Centre, in Mamelodi West, yesterday to recruit the jobless to register for the improved Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
The roadshow, which will continue throughout the week across all poverty-stricken areas in the capital, was to potentially recruit 23 000 EPWP workers to begin the programme in January.
The programme was to employ workers on a temporary or contract basis with the intention of transferring skills and providing a “much-needed” income, said Msimanga.
This after council approved in September a revised EPWP framework in the current financial year after the programme had become tarnished over the years for being synonymous with nepotism and patronage on the basis of political affiliation.
“In the past, people were hired without proper processes being followed and suddenly they were wearing EPWP uniforms. Members of the community felt this was done in an unfair manner as some weren’t given a chance to apply and get the job.
“Our people are very poverty stricken and we don’t care if you are DA, EFF or ANC [supporters]. Hunger has no political affiliation. “Therefore, we are taking the power away from those that want to manipulate the system.”
The programme’s central database would also be used by the City of Tshwane to store information of interested, unemployed residents, Msimanga said.
Among the crowd was current EPWP worker and Mamelodi resident Martha Nkosi, who told The Citizen she would be registering again as the skills-development initiative assisted her unemployment status.
“I am currently under the programme, but for a four-month contract that ends in December. I will be registering again as, even though I only earn less than R2 000 a month, it’s better than roaming around all day, doing nothing. We are glad we can be on the database so that when they recruit again we can get first preference,” she said.
But Msimanga said the previous programme, under the ANC-led administration, offered no contracts to workers, leaving many to be fired at any moment.
“People were just working because their councillor liked them and hired them, but easily dismissed them. “But now once a person is hired, they will have a contract which stipulates how much they will earn and when to report for duty,” he said.