The EPWP has since 2014 created more than two million work opportunities against a target of six million work opportunities by the end of March 2019.
In his State of the Nation Address delivered in Parliament on Thursday, President Zuma said of the work opportunities created, more than one million have been taken up by the youth.
“Government runs effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme.
“In addition, social grants now reach close to 17 million people, mainly older persons and children. Many families would not be able to put food on the table if it were not for social grants,” President Zuma said.
During the 2015/16 financial year, more than 61 000 work opportunities were created through Environmental Programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. More than 60% of the beneficiaries were young people.
In a bid to improve the lives of programme participants, the Department of Public Works has introduced an increase of wages for its participants from R78.86 per day or per task performed, to R83.59.
The wage increase came into effect from 1 November 2016. The EPWP wage is adjusted annually in line with the prevailing inflation rate. According to Statistics South Africa, the annual inflation rate in August 2016 was 6%.
The participants work on different projects such as Early Childhood Development, home community based care, Extra School Support Programme, Working on Fire, Working for Water and Roads Maintenance Projects.
Through various skills and training provided to participants through the EPWP, the participants stand an improved chance to enter the formal job market or to become entrepreneurs. As part of the skills development initiative, participants are trained in enterprise development, enabling them to establish their own cooperatives or small companies, thereby creating additional needed jobs.