Mid-term Review of the Expanded Public Works (EPWP) Programme: Synthesis Report


The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) was established in 2004/5 by the South African Government with the overarching objective of creating one million work opportunities over its first five years for the unskilled unemployed of South Africa. Such work opportunities would be created by:

Increasing the labour intensity of government-infrastructure projects;
Public environmental programmes (e.g. Working for Water);
Public social programmes particularly Home Based Community Care and Early Childhood Development; and
Developing small businesses and cooperatives.

The EPWP was designed with a set of five-year targets (2004/5 - 2008/9), and is coordinated under the auspices of the Department of Public Works (DPW). It comprises four sectors: infrastructure, environmental1, social and economic. The key objectives of the programme are to:

Draw significant numbers of the unemployed into productive work to enable them to earn an income;
Provide unemployed people with education and skills;
Ensure that beneficiaries of the EPWP are either enabled to set up their own business/ service or become employed once they exit the programme; and
Utilise public sector budgets to reduce and alleviate unemployment.

All of these are to be achieved through the delivery of infrastructure and social services as a means of meeting basic needs.

During 2007 which is the half-way mark for the programme, the EPWP together with the Expanded Public Works Support Programme (the Support Programme) commissioned a midterm review in order to assess the EPWP to date, and elicit recommendations on the future
direction and structure of the programme.

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), in partnership with experts from the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Institute (SALDRU; University of Cape Town), Rutgers School of Law (State University of New Jersey, USA), and ITT (UK) was commissioned to conduct the mid-term review. Additional fieldwork support was provided by Social Surveys Africa.


Evaluation Number:
Report Approval:
Monday, 01 October 2007
Thursday, 26 May 2016
Initiated By:
Department of Public Works and Expanded Public Works Programme Unit
Undertaken By:
Human Sciences Research Counicl in partnership with the South African Labour and Development Research Unit, Rutgers University School of Law, and ITT Engineering Consultants
Evaluation Period:
April 2007 - October 2007
Evaluation Area:
Labour issues & employment
Poverty, socio-economic dev, access to credit
National Outcome:
National Outcome 4: Decent employment through inclusive economic growth.
National Outcome 5: A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
Commissioned By:
Evaluation Type:
Evaluation Synthesis
Evaluation Subject:
Geographic Scope:

Evaluation Documents

File Name
220 EQAT 20130319 sh_mb.pdf
EPWP midterm review synthesis.pdf 220.pdf

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