ALMOST two years after the government introduced the community works programme (CWP), Nelson Mandela Bay has more than 1000 participants.
The programme is billed as a short-term plan to fight unemployment, poverty and inequality.
This was revealed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoni, who was in the Bay to access progress made since the programme was introduced in September 2012.
The CWP participants work for eight days a month cleaning illegal dumping sites, schools, clinics, hospitals and parks.
Flanked by mayor Ben Fihla and Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Tsenoli visited two CWP sites in Grogro and Uitenhage to assess progress.
“CWP is not an employment solution but offers employment for two days of the week and we train them so that they can be skilled and employable in the future. We must now keep records of the people who go through the process. In the short-term, CWP will make an impact in fighting poverty,” Tsenoli said. In Grogro, an informal settlement on private land in the Kragga Kamma area, residents complained about not having basic services like sanitation and ambulances and lack of access for police vehicles.
Tsenoli said he would be in contact with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana to have the issue sorted out, but could not say when this would be.
The CWPs were operational in 18 of the 65 wards in the Bay, with 1105 participants by last month. Tsenoli said they hoped to spread it to other wards depending on the budget. At a packed Nangoza Jebe Hall, Fihla thanked those in the programme. “You have been transforming this metro. We see and appreciate the work that you have been doing, so thank you,” he said to applause.
Qoboshiyane said there were 36194 participants in the province, 1105 of them in the Bay.
“Females are dominant because there are 787 in the Bay. We are optimistic this will address our challenges in the province. This programme seeks to address the issues of those who fall below the $1 [R11] a day mark so that they can have something to eat at the end of the month, at the end of the day for that matter.”
Addressing Uitenhage residents, Tsenoli said: “Down with women, child and vulnerable abuse, down. Let’s not allow the organisation of [late president Nelson] Mandela to be ruined.
“Go and register to vote to strengthen our democracy. We want to remind you that the ANC is waiting for you.”
CWP participant Linton Koraan, 31, of Gelvandale said: “This is a good programme because it is giving us something to do, but all we need are gloves and to know when we will get paid.” Sinethemba Jacobs, 24, of KwaNoxolo agreed. “The programme helps in decreasing crime because people are benefiting from it.”