Enhancing community development through the Community Works Programme

Story: Samkelo Fetile | Photo: Samkelo Fetile

The Local Reference Committee (LRC) for the implementation of the Community Works Programme (CWP) recently held a crucial meeting, marking a significant step forward in addressing unemployment and poverty in the community. This programme is situated in the Office of the Mayor, Cllr Vania Davids, Walter Sisulu Local Municipality (WSLM), who has delegated authority to Cllr Wesizwe Moeti, WSLM, who chaired the meeting. The meeting was attended by representatives from various government departments, including Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Department of Social Development (DSD), Department of Health (DoH), and Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC), highlighting the collaborative effort to ensure the success of the CWP.

CWP is designed to provide access to a minimum level of regular and predictable work opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed. Recognising that sustainable employment solutions take time to reach the most marginalised, the CWP acts as an employment safety net. This programme aims to strengthen the economic agency of people in impoverished areas by enhancing skills through work experience and appropriate training. Additionally, it contributes to the development, provision, and maintenance of public assets and services in poor communities, while reinforcing community development approaches that enhance security, dignity, and social and economic inclusion.

Currently, the CWP Implementation Policy is set to replace the CWP manual, and the number of participants in WSLM has been increased from 1,750 to 2,100, with a particular focus on increasing participant numbers in Maletswai.

Programme objective

The primary objective of the CWP is to provide a safety net for poor, unemployed, and underemployed individuals by offering them regular and predictable work opportunities. This enables them to earn a monthly wage of R105.00 per day for two days a week, eight days a month, or 100 days a year, for as long as they need it. To reach 100 days, participants are required to work an extra two days in November and December each year. Supervisors receive a rate of R130.00 for 20 days a month.

The secondary objectives of the CWP include skilling participants to optimise their work outputs, equipping them with life skills, and enhancing their employability and self-employment prospects. The programme also aims to contribute to the development and maintenance of public assets and services in poor communities, strengthen public and community participation in decision-making around development, and enhance the economic agency of participants, thereby promoting social and economic inclusion.

Role of the municipality

Local government and municipalities play a crucial role in the success of the CWP at any site. Municipalities generally initiate Local Reference Committees through a Council Resolution that supports the CWP and recognises the LRC as a structure that coordinates, in an advisory capacity, the CWP in a local area. This role includes developing and adopting a council resolution on formal support of the CWP in the municipal area and initiating the LRC. Municipalities support and participate in an advisory capacity in the efforts of the LRC to ensure effective and optimal functioning. They incorporate the CWP into relevant ward plans, IDPs, and SDBIPs where appropriate. Furthermore, municipalities monitor the CWP and provide oversight, support local partnership development for co-resourcing and improving useful work outputs, and update indigent registers to make them reliable, credible, and current. If credible, the indigent register should be one of the primary sources for recruiting participants. Additionally, municipalities ensure that ward committees and municipal officials participate in the LRC and the CWP, and maintain records and retain minutes of all meetings held in executing the above roles and responsibilities to ensure transparency in these processes.

The collaborative efforts of the various government departments, alongside the dedicated leadership of Cllr Moeti and the support of the local municipality, aim to ensure the effective implementation and success of the CWP. This initiative not only provides much-needed employment opportunities but also fosters community development and social inclusion, ultimately contributing to the overall upliftment of the community.