Erasmus Community Benefits from Work Programme

Pretoria – Motlatla Lisborn, 24, of Erasmus Extension 11 says her life has changed for the better since she joined the Community Work Programme (CWP) about a year and a half ago.

The CWP provides a basic level of income security through work, and it gives special attention to women and young people. It was established by government to help deal with the challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality by providing an employment safety net for the poorest of the poor. A youth mentoring programme coordinator, Lisborn is one of 17 mentors who train about 200 learners on social and development issues. After completing her matric year, her parents could not afford to pay for her college fees.

“The CWP has changed my life a lot. I am now able to pursue my educational dreams, I am enrolled with College Soshanguve where I study Management. I use my stipend to pay for my studies,” Lisborn told SAnews on Friday. Lisborn encouraged unemployed youth to consider such opportunities government has initiated for them. “Programmes like the CWP provide you with experience that you will use even after you have advanced in life. In Erasmus we have about five projects including an early childhood development centre, The Bridge, a vegetable garden, arts and sewing, recycling and the youth mentoring programme.

“We are currently in the process of recruiting more youth from our community to join the CWP, especially to the youth mentoring programme. We want at least 25 or more mentors in Erasmus. We recently held a workshop that was attended by more than 17 prospective mentors,” said Lisborn. She spoke to SAnews following a visit by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Deputy Minister Andries Nel to Erasmus on Friday. Deputy Minister Nel addressed about 1500 CWP participants and viewed projects in the area completed through the programme.

The Deputy Minister said the Erasmus community is an excellent example of a community that wanted to improve itself. “This is a community that is interested in a hand up not a hand out. They grabbed the opportunity and took the CWP to greater heights,” he said. He said the programme was established in the area in 2009 with only 500 participants, but it has grown gradually over the years. The Deputy Minister commended the community for taking ownership of the programme.

“We are particularly impressed with the youth mentorship programme that has been established in this ward. The month of June is Youth Month and we celebrate the contribution that young people make to our country. “We are very happy then that the CWP contributes to the development of young people in Erasmus. “We also commend the work done by Football 4 Youth – 25 CWP participants have been trained as football coaches. So far, 700 boys and girls have been coached in the programme,” he said.

He said government was impressed by the CWP participants who built a bridge with their own hands using locally made bricks in Erasmus. “This bridge enables communities to cross over and have access to other areas. We commit ourselves to assist this site with expertise from our Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA),” said the Deputy Minister. Deputy Minister Nel said the CWP supplements government’s social grants programme. The programme has created 202 634 work opportunities during the 2014/15 financial year, in the entire country. In Gauteng alone, the programme is reaching 21 294 participants in 13 sites.

“We want to create one million work opportunities by 2019. [Currently] the CWP puts R1.4 billion into the pockets and onto the tables of more than 200 000 participants. We will establish at least one CWP site in every local and metropolitan municipality by the end of 2016/17.”

In 2013/14 there were 148 CWP sites in 140 municipalities. “By the end of 2014/15, we added an additional 37 CWP sites in 19 municipalities. There are now 185 sites in 159 municipalities covering 2 302 wards,” said Deputy Minister Nel. This financial year, government will establish sites in 30 municipalities, bringing the total number of CWP sites to 220.

“Over the five years of this administration the CWP will put R5.6 billion into the pockets of the poorest of the poor. In the past financial year 43 634 CWP participants benefitted from training opportunities offered by the programme,” he said. A partnership with the Amajuba FET College in KwaZulu-Natal has benefitted 800 CWP participants. They were trained in early childhood development, bricklaying, home-based care and community gardening.

A partnership with the University of the North West, resulted in 75 CWP participants receiving training as Grade R educators. Another partnership entails support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Mahikeng Municipality’s Waste Management Programme. “We are pleased to see the results of these important initiatives,” he said. –