IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Employer of Last Resort? South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)

Listed author(s):
  • Charles Meth

    (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

South Africa’s largest active labour market intervention (ALMP) is the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Its first five-year phase has been completed and a second phase, more ambitious by far than its predecessor, has commenced. Critical analysis suggests that contrary to the hype, the programme has thus far made little lasting impact on the poverty and unemployment it is supposed to address. The analysis is in four parts: the first is an exploration of the background to the EPWP, in its role as South Africa’s largest active labour market policy; the second presents an examination of aspects of the performance of EPWP Phase 1, looking in particular at target vs. actual numbers of job opportunities and training days. This section also looks briefly at the EPWP’s proposed monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programme, before undertaking a more detailed consideration of the published information available on the training/employment nexus. The section ends with a glance at weaknesses in one of the surveys (the Labour Force Surveys, LFSs) put forward as data sources for evaluating the EPWP during Phase1; the third considers aspects of the vast increases in the scope of EPWP from Phase 1 to Phase 2, of the way in which these have been communicated, and of the way in which they are to be funded, while fourth the looks at the possible contribution that this second phase could/may make to the goal of halving unemployment by 2014. This part of the paper reproduces a set of scenarios produced by the National Treasury and published in the Budget Review 2010. These point to the extreme unlikelihood of the unemployment halving goal being attained. The paper ends with a set of recommendations, many relating to the production and distribution of knowledge about the EPWP.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 58.

in new window

Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:58
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Private BagX3, Rondebosch, 7701, Cape Town

Phone: +27 21 650 5696
Fax: +27 21 650 5697
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Charles Meth, 2004. "Half Measures: The ANC's Unemployment and Poverty Reduction Goals," Working Papers 04089, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  2. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt, 2007. "Using Propensity Scoring to Estimate Program-Related Subgroup Impacts in Experimental Program Evaluations," Evaluation Review, , vol. 31(2), pages 95-120, April.
  3. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt, "undated". "Using Propensity Scoring to Estimate Program-Related Subgroup Impacts in Experimental Program Evaluations," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 3a3d011dfc3a4189ac810bd66, Mathematica Policy Research.
  4. Berndt Keller & Frank Werner, 2008. "Negotiated Forms of Worker Involvement in the European Company (SE). First Empirical Evidence and Conclusions," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 19(4), pages 291-306.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:58. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alison Siljeur)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.