180 000 unemployed South Africans lose out as CoGTA dumps R2 billion on ‘middleman’ in the Community Works Programme

Issued by Eleanore Bouw-Spies MP – DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
14 Mar 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Eleanore Bouw-Spies MP

For a programme that is designed to assist the poor and the unemployed, the Community Works Programme (CWP)– run by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), has a rotten underbelly that is literally taking food from the mouths of the unemployed.

In a written reply to a DA parliamentary question, the Minister of CoGTA – Thembi Nkadimeng, revealed that over the past 5 years, her Department made payments in excess of R2,8 billion to what it calls Implementing Agents (IAs) for the CWP. These IAs are nothing more than NPOs that act as a ‘glorified middleman’ for the CWP.

Using the figures provided by CoGTA, and if the Department had not made use of these ‘middleman organisations’ during the 5 year period, 182 000 more unemployed South Africans could have found short term employment under the CWP. Yet billions of rand meant for their benefit found its way into the accounts of ‘middleman’ organisations.

Between 1 October 2021 and March 2023, one of the recipient organisations for this largesse was the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) which pocketed R59 million. For an organisation that has become a playground for ANCYL functionaries and whose contribution towards creating economic opportunities for the youth is almost non-existent, the transference of money meant for CPW beneficiaries is highly irregular and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

It is not clear how these ‘middleman organisations’ are selected but for the 17 who have been beneficiaries of this windfall from CoGTA, they have – on average, pocketed R165 million each. The fees that are being paid out to these organisations, for playing an administrative function under the CWP, are highly excessive and should at the very least be investigated.

At 42%, South Africa’s unemployment rate has reached crisis levels and it therefore does not make sense to be wasting billions of rand paying a middleman when that money could have been going straight into the hands of the unemployed.

Minister Nkandimeng should stop this unethical practice of using a middleman for the CWP and use the money saved to assist more South Africans who are struggling to find jobs and help support their families. Dumping tens of millions of rand in organisations such as the NYDA, while people are out of work, is immoral and an irresponsible use of taxpayers money.