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MEC rejects ‘ghost’ beneficiaries claims

Roads and public works MEC Thandiswa Marawu said yesterday she was not aware of “ghost” beneficiaries involved in a massive extended public works programme (EPWP).

Marawu was responding to questions at a media briefing at the department’s Amathole regional office in East London.

She was addressing the media as part of the department’s EPWP provincial month launch and released the latest numbers of beneficiaries employed through the programme in the province.

Marawu said she had not received a report about “ghost” beneficiaries in the system.

She was responding to a question from a Daily Dispatch reporter after concerns were raised by job seekers about possible “ghost” beneficiaries in the programme.

They claim the money was being paid to people who were not involved in the programme.

Marawu said her department had set up monitoring systems to detect fraudulent activities.

In addition, a new database system has been introduced, which entailed scanning of ID copies of beneficiaries, more than just punching ID numbers of the beneficiaries into the system.

Her department had also appointed 60 emerging contractors to monitor the attendance of beneficiaries at their workstations to ensure that maintenance of public parks, roads, public buildings, public areas and facilities as well as cleaning and greening were done.

She said there were also political forums activated by her department to discuss potential problems affecting the programme.

Marawu said she was aware of challenges relating to beneficiaries not working their hours as required, but getting paid. Another issue was that mayors did not know much about the programme despite the fact that their municipalities used the services of EPWP beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries were expected to clean parks, cut grass at schools and on road construction.

The duration of the programmes differed, with some running to more than two years.

Marawu said to deal with the challenge in municipalities, a political forum had been set up in the province.

The EPWP had created more than 188000 job opportunities in the 2014-15 financial year. Marawu said that meant the province had the second highest intake across the country.

Since its inception in the 2004-05 financial year, the province had created more than a million job opportunities. However, South African Unemployed Workers’ Union president Jabu Ntusi questioned the figures.

“These numbers have been exaggerated. Where are these people they are talking about? We have people begging for jobs in East London near Amalinda .”

Ntusi said Marawu had not consulted the union to discuss issues relating to the programme.

“It’s time for her to go. Marawu has failed dismally,” Ntusi said. — msindisif@dispatch.co.za

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