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The government of South Africa is aware of the high rates of unemployment. Since the inception of the democratic governance, the government has embarked on initiatives geared towards addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Government Programmes

Consequently, every level of government has initiatives and programmes designed to address the triple challenges. This page will provide you with the information on government initiatives developed to address unemployment.

Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP)

The Department of Public Works can be contacted for further information on the EPWP. Contact details are available on this link.

The EPWP was launched in 2004 and is currently still being implemented. The EPWP is a nationwide programme covering all spheres of government and state- owned enterprises. The Programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households in the short to medium-term. EPWP Projects employ workers on a temporary or on-going basis either by government, by contractors, or by other non-governmental organisations under the Ministerial Conditions of Employment for the EPWP or learnership employment conditions. The EPWP creates work opportunities in four sectors, namely, Infrastructure, Non-State, Environment & Culture and Social, through:

  • increasing the labour intensity of government-funded infrastructure projects under the Infrastructure sector,

  • creating work opportunities through the Non-Profit Organisation Programme (NPO) and Community Work Programme (CWP) under the Non-State sector, and

  • creating work opportunities in public environment and culture programmes under the Environment and Culture sector.

  • creating work opportunities in public social programmes under the Social sector,

  1. Infrastructure Sector

    The infrastructure sector is led by the Department of Public Works (DPW). The Department also collaborates with the Departments of: Transport; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Water Affairs; Mineral Resources; and Energy.

    EPWP Infrastructure Sector Programmes

    • Vuk’uphile:
      Pertains to training of individuals in labour intensive methods of construction to become contractors at NQF level 2 and supervisors at NQF level 4,

    • National Youth Service:
      It is a year-long skills training and development intervention. It aims to provide unemployed youth with technical skills and life skills training, access to practical work experience and mentoring;

    • Large Projects:
      These are projects with a minimum budget of R30m or more. Ensure that delivery of large budgets projects will be based on EPWP principles and ensure meaningful development of emerging contractors; and

    • Provincial Roads:
      In the Provincial roads programme, assistance is provided to Provincial Roads Departments to help them implement projects and programmes labour-intensively. The support provided to Provincial roads departments is done in partnership with the National Department of Transport. The focus in the Provincial roads programme is on rural access roads.

  2. Non-State Sector

    The Non State Sector Programme (NSS) was introduced as the new component for EPWP in 2009. The programme uses wage subsidies to support Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) on their community development initiatives. The NSS comprises of two programmes, namely the Community Work Programme (CWP) and the Non-Profit Organisation. The CWP is area based and is managed by the Department of Cooperative Governance.

  3. Environment And Culture Sector

    The Environment and Culture Sector (E&C)’s contribution to the EPWP involves employing people to work on projects to improve their local environment through programme spearheaded by various departments. The sector builds South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage, and in doing so, dynamically uses this heritage to create both medium and long term work and social benefits.

    The objectives of the Sector are as follows:

    • Creating jobs and providing training and through these jobs facilitating long- term employment;

    • Linking the marginalized people with opportunities and resources to enable their participation in the developed “main stream economy”;

    • Integrating sustainable rural development and urban renewal;

    • Creating land-based livelihoods;

    • Promoting community-based natural resource management;

    • Developing the natural resources and cultural heritage;

    • Rehabilitation of natural resources and protection of biodiversity; and

    • Promoting tourism.

    EPWP Environment and Culture Sector Programmes

    • Sustainable Land-based Livelihoods;
    • Waste Management;
    • Tourism and Creative Industries;
    • Parks and Beautification;
    • Coastal Management; and
    • Sustainable Energy

    The contributing Sector Departments are:

    • Department Environmental Affairs (Overall Lead Sector);
      Click on this link for specific programmes administered by the above department.

    • Department of Water Affairs;

    • Department of Tourism;

    • Department of Mineral Resources;

    • Department of Energy;

    • Department of Arts and Culture;

    • Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries;

    • Provincial Departments with the same mandate as National Departments listed above and

    • Municipalities within the following units:
      • Environmental Management units;
      • Sport & Recreation units;
      • Waste Management units;
      • Tourism and Heritage Management units; and
      • Arts and Culture units

  4. Social Sector

    The beneficiaries of the EPWP Social sector are afforded opportunities to undergo training to enhance their abilities in rendering improved social services while providing options for career path or exit strategies into formal and self- employment. Training is accessed through skills programmes and learnerships.

    EPWP Social Sector Programmes

    • Early Childhood Development:

      Provide education and care to children in the temporary absence of their parents or adult caregivers. Services include provision of child health, nutrition, education, psychosocial and other needs within the context of the family and the community. The beneficiaries are provided with skills to increase their capacity to generate an income hence improving care and learning environment,

    • Home Community Based Care:

      Provide basic health services needs by formal or informal caregivers employed in EPWP projects to people in their own homes or home based care that the community can access closer to their homes,

    • School nutrition programme:

      The programme employs community members as food handlers to provide food to children from needy families and thus address malnutrition,

    • Community Crime Prevention:

      It is aimed at encouraging community members by employing volunteers in EPWP projects to be active in helping to identify community safety priorities for their neighbourhoods,

    • School Mass Participation:

      The programme provides work opportunities to sports coaches and encourages members of the public to participate actively in sports with the objectives of promoting good health, self-realisation, community development and social cohesion, and

    • Kha Ri Gude (Tshivenda for 'let us learn')

      It is a Mass Literacy Campaign aimed at inviting adults who missed out on their schooling, and who cannot read nor write, to join literacy classes provided across the country.

You can visit or contact the following departments for more information with regard to the social sector programmes:


For employment opportunities in Waste programme contact the Department of Environmental Affairs on 086 111 2468 or visit their website.

In addition to the above, there are Youth Environmental Services intended to provide training and workplace based experience. Contact Mandy Noffke on 021 701 1397 or e-mail: ; you can also click on this link for further information.


Department Programme/s
Rural Development Comprehensive Rural Development Programme
National Rural Youth Service Corps Programme
Social Development Neighbourhood Development Grant Programme
Home-Based Community Care Programme
Education Early Childhood Development
Kha ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign
Transport S’hamba Sonke

It is worthwhile to contact your municipality for further information on the government programmes.

Traffic Officers Opportunities:
There are provincial and municipal Traffic Officers opportunities offered at various municipalities. To know more about these opportunities, visit your nearest local municipality and inquire about them or visit this page

Metro Police Constables Opportunities:
The local government/metropolitan municipalities advertise these opportunities when they are available. To know more about these opportunities, visit your nearest local municipality and inquire about them;

Emergency Services Opportunities:
The local government/metropolitan municipalities advertise these opportunities when they are available. To know more about these opportunities, visit your nearest local municipality and inquire about them.


Department of Health
South African Police Services (SAPS)
Department of Correctional Services
Department of Social Development
Department of Basic Education
Department of Defence
Department of Public Works
Department of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs
Department of Labour

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