COGTA’s R300 million fee payments to third parties robs 300 000 South Africans of Community Works  job opportunities

Issued by Eleanore Bouw-Spies MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs
14 Jun 2022 in News

A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) will spend over R300 million in fees to NGOs who are contracted as implementing agents in the roll out of the Department’s Community Works Programme (CWP). This represents 27% of the R1,2 billion that will be spent on the CWP programme by September 2022.

With CWP workers earning R880 per month, this means that money that could have been used to employ 300 000 unemployed South Africans will be poured directly into the pockets of implementing agents in just one year.

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance, Fikile Xasa, requesting that the Committee submits a resolution to the Minister of COGTA, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, calling for a full review of the CWP, especially the implementing agent component.

The DA proposal is anchored on the view that implementing agents need to be scrapped and the Department must stop administering the CWP budget as this does not form part of its core function. Instead, the CWP budget should be allocated to municipality administered public works programmes with the caveat that they provide quarterly reports on programme implementation. Using municipalities will cut out the fees paid to implementing agents and save the taxpayer millions of rand.

It is simply unconscionable that at a time when the unemployment rate is sitting at 45%, COGTA is wasting R300 million rand in administration fees instead of providing unemployed South Africans with an income through the public works programme.

Not only is COGTA paying ridiculous amounts in fess, CWP workers are still struggling every month to get payment from these implementing agents on services rendered. This month alone, I have dealt with 40 cases of CWP workers who were struggling to get their dues after completing their monthly work tasks. It was only after my intervention that they got paid 5 days after the scheduled pay date.

Removing the implementation responsibility for the CWP away from COGTA and removing third party implementing agents will result in significant cost cutting and a better chance of participants being taken up in jobs either in municipalities or in the private sector.