Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says the improved public awareness of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is due to the value it adds in the communities.

EPWP is a flagship programme to fight poverty and unemployment through the provision of short to medium term work and training opportunities.

The Labour Market Dynamics for South Africa 2014 report, which was delivered by Statistician General Pali Lehohla last week, states that awareness of the EPWP and other government job creation programmes increased from 42.8% to 52% in 2014.

“The EPWP Phase 3 has absorbed the element of public participation, community development as well as social cohesion and integration.

“This means that EPWP projects and programmes are no longer limited to government’s fight against poverty and unemployment through the creation of short to medium term work and training opportunities, but these programmes are also intrinsic in the development and unity of our people.

“The public now plays a role in working with government to identify EPWP projects and programmes that can improve their lives, develop their communities and indeed unite them,” Minister Nxesi said.

The Labour Market Dynamics for South Africa 2014 report states that in 2014, seven out of 10 of those who participated in the EPWP and other government job creation programmes were employed, up from 56.9% in 2014.

Between 2011 and 2014, the proportion of those who participated in these programmes and who were employed in tertiary industries increased from 58.1% to 75.1%.

The proportion of those employed in low-skilled occupations also increased from 51.1% to 72.4% over the period. Four out of every five participants who were employed had a formal sector job – a trend that has been continuing since 2011.