By Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Infrastructure Development:
Accusations of nepotism and mismanagement continue to plague the Expanded Public Works Program (EPWP) with a number of participants claiming that the programme is being administered unfairly and that payments vary from month to month.
Run by the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development, the EPWP is aimed at providing temporary work opportunities to unemployed people across the province.
At a recent infrastructure portfolio committee meeting, a number of participants in the programme complained that they were paid different amounts from month to month, and in some cases they were treated poorly by their supervisors. They also indicated that nepotism is rife, as friends and family of department staff are appointed to senior positions in the programme.
Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, promised her department would investigate and urged complainants to lay charges and provide evidence of wrongdoing.
While this is the least that one would expect from the MEC, remedial action is always after the fact.
Officials in the department do not have their fingers on the pulse, which is why this situation was allowed to develop.
The MEC, as the political head of the department, must take responsibility for the inaction of her officials and is ultimately responsible.
While the investigation is certainly needed, the circumstances leading to the complaints should have been avoided in the first place.
The DA will request that the MEC indicates what action will be taken against guilty persons in the department and also that she provide a strategy as to how she intends on preventing this from happening in the future.