Opening Remarks By Minister Thembi Nkadimeng To Portfolio Committee Of Cogta Workshop On Community Works Program

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee Honourable Xasa

Whip of the Committee Honourable Direko

Honourable members of the Committee

Deputy Minister Parks Tau of DCOG

DG Mbulelo Tshangane and Senior management from DCOG

All support officials are present here.

Let me extend my warm greetings on this cold morning here in cape town.

I would like to extend our appreciation to the portfolio committee for according to us an opportunity to come this morning as we continue with engagements toward remodeling and restructuring our flagship program, the CWP.

Honourable chairperson it would be amiss of me not to extend our sincere and profound gratitude to your leadership and this committee for giving us the time and space to thoroughly review this important program and most importantly to craft a much more impactful and sustainable model of Community Works Program.

The program director let me be the first to admit that notwithstanding its noble intentions and progressive policy outlook, the CWP program since its inception around 2010 has faced numerous implementation-related challenges. As you are aware honourable members, one of the challenges raised in the diagnostic report of the national development plan is around the issue of fragmented policy implementation as well as weaknesses in the project and program monitoring and evaluation.

The detailed presentation will talk about the historical evolution of the CWP program since its inception to date as well as the challenges that were encountered including the supply chain irregularities which led to the department being qualified by the auditor general. As part of implementing corrective measures and remedial actions, the presentation will share with the committee our transitional arrangements leading up to the futuristic proposition on how we reposition the program so that it achieves its intended objectives.

I am certain members are aware that one of the ever-present and escalating challenges confronting the democratic state is the issue of deepening levels of poverty. This as we all know has been identified along with the other two challenges high levels of unemployment and inequalities as the most three pressing challenges confronting our country. Indeed, if not addressed and confronted, these three interrelated challenges have the capacity to derail the democratic project. Of more worrying chair is that these challenges are based on class, racial, and gender imbalances linked to our painful passed wherein the majority of the people were excluded from the economy.

It is for this reason that the democratic government decided to among others to deal with poverty by providing a safety net through programs such as the CWP. Meeting here this morning, I am sure we will all agree that programs such as the CWP remain important in protecting our people against the hardships of absolute poverty. With over 260 000 participants throughout the country, the program is benefiting in the main the poor and vulnerable people in our rural municipalities. Our therefore chairperson is to reflect on how we improve the program and reposition it as a catalytic intervention towards our overall strategy of fighting poverty.

I must say that we are aware of the situation on the ground in terms of delays in the payment of participants and the need to safeguard the public assets in various provinces. We have made significant progress in ensuring that all participants are paid. Yes, there are challenges, and we encourage members to continue reporting to us so that together with deal with those challenges.

Our presentation this morning will detail the evolution of the program since its inception, giving background and objectives, the presentation will then reflect on the current situation as we deal with transitional mechanisms and lastly, we will then share with the committee how we envisage the remodeled and restructured program to look like. Maybe at the high level chair, I must indicate that we are intending to have a remodeled CWP with the following features ;

  • A strong component of contract management
  • Effective monitoring and evaluation including reporting.
  • Strategic partnerships and contracting with the provincial government, municipalities, and private sector as part of enhancing the DDM approach.
  • Results management office as part of enhancing our project management capabilities.
  • Supply chain and procurement compliance
  • Training of participants with the aim to create market linkages
  • Exit opportunities through enterprise development to mention but a few

I must say that we welcome inputs and suggestions from portfolio committee members in order to enhance the final product of a new CWP program. Let me take this opportunity to introduce the new Director General of DCOG Mr Mbulelo Tshangana who started on the 1st May 2023 and through your chair allow him to make the presentation on behalf of the department.

I thank you!!