In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. The government then introduced the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) initiative aimed at drawing a significant number of unemployed South Africans in a productive manner that will enable them to gain skills and increase their capacity to earn income.
The Environmental Programmes (EP), within the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), is responsible for identifying and ensuring implementation of programmes that employ Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) principles to contribute towards addressing unemployment in line with the “decent employment through inclusive economic growth” outcome, by working with communities to identify local opportunities that will benefit the communities.
The main goal is to alleviate poverty and uplift households especially those headed by women through job creation, skills development, and use of Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) whilst at the time contributing to the achievement of the departmental mandate. The funded projects need to always bring about the balance between the social, economic and environment for sustainable living.
The branch consist of three chief directorates, namely: Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programmes (EPIP), Information Management & Sector Coordination (IMSC) and Natural Resource Management (NRM)
EPIP programmes focus on infrastructure related projects that contribute towards the environmental protection, conservation and sustainability, whilst creating work opportunities, and providing skills development to enable beneficiaries to secure permanent employment.
IMSC ensures effective knowledge and information management support services for the branch activities, as well as managing the coordination of sector socioeconomic interventions.
NRM Programmes ensure that South Africa addresses its responsibilities relating to water resource management, biological diversity and the functioning of natural systems whilst ensuring meaningful livelihood opportunities are supported for those employed on these programmes.