Some unemployed youth at the Phokwane Municipality, in the Northern Cape, are accusing the provincial Public Works Department of only hiring politically connected individuals to work in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) project.
The project, expected to hire at least 300 people, was supposed to start this week, but was brought to a halt by protesting residents.
The disgruntled young people say they are being starved of opportunities to earn a living.
Jan Kempdorp youths unhappy with the recruitment process in the Public Works Programme:
Youth community leader in the area, Thabang Molale, insists that the project will not start until their grievances are heard.
“The guidelines of EPWP recruitment state that the maximum people hired per household is one per person. But we can see that people who are hired are four, three, or two from one family and it’s only certain people of political parties. We are not going to retreat. We are going to continue with our protest. We’re going to ask the premier to intervene in this matter,” says Molale.
Spokesperson for the provincial Public Works Department, Bongani Silingile, insists that despite the protests, the project is forging ahead.
“The project is going very well in our key towns. However, there were disruptions where the disgruntled members of the community were protesting, but members of the South African Police Service managed to intervene and there is calmness in the area. The project is indeed proceeding very well,” says Silingile.
The youth says they will stage yet another protest on Friday and will call for the intervention of Northern Cape Premier, Zamani Saul.
The project would see hundreds of people sweep roads, cover potholes and clean up their towns.