By Sindisiwe Dlamini
Cape Town, known for its captivating beauty, has become a hub of opportunity for women seeking a path to empowerment. On the 21st of August 2023 the City of Cape Town released its statement that the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has played a crucial role in unlocking the potential of women in Cape Town by creating job opportunities and opening doors to a brighter future.
In honour of Women’s Month, the City of Cape Town is happy to report that, over the course of the last five fiscal years, from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2023, 117 432 women have benefited from short-term employment opportunities and skill development under the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP).
The programme effectively acts as a steppingstone to better prospects inside the city or elsewhere for unemployed individuals, including women. Women who participate in this programme have a chance to work in a variety of City services, which broadens their experience and skill set. The city intends to expand and improve its work in the years to come in order to empower the program’s beneficiaries the most of whom are women to succeed in the expanding local economy.
One of the people who has benefited from the programme is Nontathu Dlephu who started working as a clerk in 2016, employed by the EPWP. “I was able to learn valuable skills along the road, discover my strengths and shortcomings, and obtain the essential professional experience thanks to it. If a position that suits them becomes available, I will unquestionably encourage all job searchers to sign up on the database and to keep their online profiles updated with their most recent professional experience” said Nontathu Dlephu.
However not everyone is happy with how the city of Cape Town does things. Many of the comments under the city of Cape Town posts on LinkendIn showed that there is bias in terms of employment. “I applied for jobs starting in 2012 and worked as an EPWP for just three months in 2022. While I was on contract, I wanted to apply for internal employment, but I was told that I couldn’t because the contract was just for three months” said Celeste Goliath Daniel.
The City of Cape Town replied to one of the comments that you can apply again for internal posts. “The individuals who used to work with me at that time received a six-month contract from January through July, after which they were approached for another contract as EPWP employees in August. Now, could you tell me? If everyone must have a fair shot, how are they managing this system? I’ve been looking for work up until now while applying constantly. Since May 2022, the City of Cape Town has not gotten in touch with me. Those privileges are only granted to a selected few.” Celeste added.
After receiving numerous complaints from locals that the same, pre-selected few persons keep receiving EPWP job possibilities, Good Political Party brought the issue up with Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis. GOOD sees this as a win for Cape Town people who ought to have an equal opportunity to find employment. It is necessary to realign the EPWP programme with its original goals.