The Guard

The Truth On Board

Public works capacitates artisans

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – The deputy minister of public works, Bernice Swarts, says extended public works programme (EPWP) workers cannot remain EPWP workers for 10 years, and need to upgrade their skills by joining TVET college artisan programmes.

According to the Swarts, the EPWP in the Free state should be employing a hundred thousand not ten thousand workers.
“The people of the Free State need to be employed. Government projects should employ EPWP workers. TVET colleges have partnerships with SETAs, so people need to be skilled and trained through artisan programmes at TVET colleges.

“It is high time the EPWP had exit programmes so that the people who were part of any government project can be properly accredited with a skill. EPWP workers need to upgrade themselves and align themselves with TVET colleges so that they can be qualified.

“South Africa has a dearth of skills; painting, for example, is a skill, and TVET colleges have courses and people can be trained to acquire such skills,” Swarts said at Kestell during the public works imbizo.
During the question-and-answer session, Lindiwe Radebe and other community members raised concerns about how EPWP workers in Kestell are treated.
“Some of us do not have uniforms unlike others who are given uniforms. This is unfair because we are all employed by the same government, but others seem to be getting special treatment,” Radebe said.

Deputy minister of Public Works Bernice Swarts addressing community members at Kestell during imbizo.

Another resident, Sidwell Mofokeng, called for transparency in the administration of these projects as some workers are paid more than others.
In response to these questions the MEC public works Dibolelo Mahlatsi said, “The people must speak to the councillors and people overseeing the projects to make sure that they get their personal protective equipment. The community must also realise that different projects have different EPWP workers so it is important to know who the person in charge of which project is, to avoid all confusion.”

The DM urged the contractors finishing the construction of the Kestell Magistrate court to employ the people of Kestell as EPWP workers so that they are part of the completion of this project and get the necessary skills that they can always upgrade.