Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CWP?

The Community Work Programme (CWP) is a government initiative designed to provide an employment safety net to eligible participants by offering them a minimum number of regular days of work each month. There is a guaranteed minimum CWP wage, and this is subject to revision every year, as determined by the Minister of Labour. In practice, participants work two days a week or the monthly equivalent. By focusing on work needed by communities, the CWP has become an instrument of community development, by improving the quality of life in poorer communities.

Why was the CWP started?

The CWP was started to address the high rate of unemployment in the country. The initiative recognises that policies to reduce unemployment and create sustainable jobs will take time to reach people living in marginalised areas, where few opportunities exist.

What is the purpose of CWP?

Chapter 3 of the National Development Plan (NDP), indicates that “The problem of unemployment and underemployment has become too big for market-based solutions to solve in the next 10 to 20 years”.

To counter this, the CWP aims to give those willing and able to work the opportunity to do so, together with the dignity and social inclusion that follows from this. It supplements people’s existing livelihood strategies by providing a basic level of income security and, in doing so, contributes to the key strategic goals of government by addressing poverty and unemployment.

Which government department is responsible for the programme?

The Community Work Programme is located in the Department of Cooperative Governance within the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The CWP is a government-wide programme embracing other sector departments. It is an integral part of Government Outcome 9: “A Responsive, Accountable, Effective and Efficient Local Government System”.

How does the CWP fit in with other government programmes?

The CWP complements government’s existing social protection measures. It is a component of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) designed to ensure that people with limited alternatives can rely on a minimum level of regular work to provide a predictable income stream.

Are people employed by the CWP?

No. The programme is designed as an employment safety net, not an employment solution for participants. The programme is implemented by Implementing Agents contracted by the Department of Cooperative Governance. CWP participants sign contracts with the Implementing Agents.

How long will the programme last?

The CWP is intended to be an ongoing programme; the involvement of participants continues, and is terminated only in cases of misconduct and/or fraud.

Where does the money come from?

The money has been allocated by Government.

Where is the CWP work located?

The CWP is an area-based programme with sites usually covering several wards in a municipal area. Sites are located in areas where unemployment is high and where alternatives seem likely to remain limited for the foreseeable future.

In March 2014, there were 148 sites covering 140 municipalities throughout the country, with an average of 1000 participants per site. The plan is to have at least one CWP site in every local municipality by 31 March 2017.

Are the sites in rural or urban areas?

While the CWP focus has been mainly rural, the programme also has an important role to play in addressing urban poverty. The pilot phase highlighted its potential to contribute positively to upgrading informal settlements in urban or peri-urban areas. Currently, the CWP is operational in six (6) of the eight (8) metropolitan municipalities in the country.

What kind of work is provided?

The local community where the site is located is actively involved in identifying ‘useful work’ they believe is needed in their area.

What is ‘useful work’?

‘Useful work’ is defined as an activity that contributes to the public good. The work responds to priorities set at a local level and focuses on labour-intensive activities.

These include planting and cultivating food gardens at clinics, schools, churches and in household plots; home-based care; developing recreation spaces and sporting facilities; environmental rehabilitation; general maintenance work, including the cleaning of schools, as well as other tasks to support schools and community safety.

Who can apply for enrolment in the CWP?

The programme is targeted at poor, unemployed and underemployed men and women. The programme strongly identifies with the needs of women, youth and people with disabilities, and ensures that they are not excluded.

At a local Municipal level, there is a Reference Committee that advises and supports the implementation of the Community Work Programme. This structure ensures that there is a work plan for CWP participants, and that key stakeholders within the municipality and sector departments work with the implementing agencies in supporting the programme.

Is there a limit to the number of days that a person can work?

The number of days is limited, in order to make sure that more people benefit from the programme. In practice, it offers two days of work per week (or the monthly equivalent), which adds up to a maximum of 100 days of work spread throughout the year.

How was the wage level decided?

The CWP minimum wage is aligned to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) minimum wage rate as prescribed by the Ministerial Determination issued by the Minister of Labour. The rate is revised on a yearly basis.

Are there categories of CWP Participants?

There are two categories of CWP participants: regular participants and supervisors/coordinators. Supervisors work a maximum of 20 days per month and work 240 days per year. Regular participants are guaranteed 8 work days per month and 100 days per year. CWP participants are expected to work 8 hours per day. The CWP wage is the same across all 9 provinces.

What are the CWP payment procedures?

Before any participant can start work, they must be registered, and approved on the Management Information System (MIS). In order to register and be approved on the MIS, a would-be participant needs to provide the Site Administrator with an ID document; an original bank statement which is not older than 3-months, and which has a bank stamp on it; complete a Registration form and sign a Contract Agreement

Eight (8) days Attendance Registers (ARs) are printed from the MIS and used as a tool for monitoring work. Participants must sign in and out throughout the work cycle.

Regular participants are paid only for the days worked. It is important that all participants sign Attendance Registerseach day they work. No one is permitted to sign the Attendance Register on behalf of another participant. At the end of the work cycle, Attendance Registers must be submitted to the CWP site office for capturing.

Data is captured on the MIS, and verified by the Implementing Agent, who then submits it to the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) for payment purposes. Wages are only paid into a valid bank account belonging to a participant, and not to someone else’s bank account. The rule of no work, no pay applies.

It’s said that CWP payments are sometimes late, and that occasionally no payment is made. Is there any truth in this?

Non-payments and late payments could be a result of any of the following:

  • Dormant or closed bank accounts: Participants are encouraged not to leave their accounts on zero balance in order to avoid deactivation. A small positive balance is always needed to ensure continuity. Participants should immediately notify their supervisors and site managers when their banking details change. DCoG and its Agencies will NOT be held liable for non payment due to the act that changes in participants’ banking details were not communicated to supervisors and site managers.
  • Banking details that are not correctly captured on the Management Information System (MIS).
  • Participants not signing the Attendance Register, leading to information not being captured on the MIS.

Late submission of Attendance Registers by the CWP site management or Implementing Agents. It is the responsibility of the participant to inform the site office if they were not paid.

A bank statement may be requested as proof of non-payment. For any changes to banking information, a participant will be required to provide a certified copy of their ID, as well as an original bank statement, for these changes to be effected on the system.

All documentation is verified, firstly by the Implementing Agents, and thereafter by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG). It is the responsibility of the Site Administrator to courier all the relevant documents to Pretoria. Outstanding payments will only be processed once all documentation has been validated by DCoG.

Once all non-payments have been verified, participants are back-paid.

The Community Work Programme can work for you!