15 September 2023 - NW2778
Spies, Ms ERJ to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Whether, with regard to the participants in the Community Works Programme (CWP) who are struggling to have their salaries paid on time and a lack of protective clothing and equipment, her department has conducted on-site audits at any of the CPW sites; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of the (a) outcomes of the audits and (b) plan of action her department has put in place to deal with the challenges?
a) Firstly, I would like to state that stipends for participants and salaries for Site Management staff have been paid on time for the past three months i.e. participants payment date being 25th of each month and Site Management Staff being the last day of each month. Queries of non-payment relates to bank account changes and these participants are very few.
b) I am aware of the challenge of inadequate Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) for Participants intended to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. This challenge is largely as a result of delayed procurement processes by Implementing Agents (IAs) and further exacerbated by the discontinuation of their contract in March 2023.
c) The source of this PPE challenge was an attempt on the part of the department to promote value for money procurement by IAs. The department introduced a requirement that enjoins IAs to submit all intended procurement for approval.
d) The unintended consequence was that this requirement imposed additional strain on an already overstretched Finance unit resulting in delays in the procurement and distribution of PPE.
e) The provision of PPE for Participants is not a nice to have, but a compliance issue that the department must ensure is observed in accordance to the prescripts of the Occupational Health and Safety Act monitored by the Department of Employment and Labour.
f) It is for this reason that Site Audits are currently underway to determine the PPE needs of each Participant with the intention to expedite the procurement process and ensure compliance with the prescripts of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.