Waterway restoration jobs are temporary

Jody Wentzel, Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s disaster risk reduction manager

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture allocated funding to the University of Stellenbosch to support an existing waterway restoration project in the PHA from January to June 2021. A total of 31 jobs was created by environmental education awareness, the procurement of tools and equipment and the establishment of a greenhouse to propagate indigenous plants (“PHA residents protest over research funding,” Southern Mail, December 8).

Phase 1 of the project was from January to June 2021, with the possibility of allocating additional funds to achieve the work deliverables.

Phase 2 of the project is currently in progress from November 2, consisting of the 31 members from phase 1.

Once the funds were depleted in June 2021, the university requested additional funding, which was approved.

A new transfer payment agreement (TPA) was signed between the department and the university with a seven-month project duration.

The TPA is between the department and the university.

One of the TPA and business plan outcomes is job creation through the clearing and rehabilitation of channels and a wetland.

Future-Agri Processing Primary Co-operative (FAPRO) is contracted by the university to manage the administrative role of the project.

The department is not involved in this aspect of the agreement.

The initial TPA between the department and the university provides for the creation of jobs for 31 community members for a six-month period, which was implemented from January to June 2021.

Once all the funds were spent as per the business plan, the university requested additional funding to continue the project and subsequent employment of 31 members.

Completing a TPA follows an imperative process to ensure the terms and conditions of the agreement and related business plan are in line with government regulations.

The expanded public works programmes (EPWP) contract that all project employees have signed states that this contract is a limited-term contract and not a permanent job.

The agreement may be terminated if the contractor does not get additional contracts from the EPWP; funding for the programme in your area comes to an end; and you repeatedly do not perform in terms of the tasks set out in your work programme.

The department has signed a TPA for the next phase of the project to the value of R1 293 632.96.

The same teams commenced with the clearing and restoration works in the PHA on November 2.

The department’s project managers attended a site visit at the PHA project on December 6. They had a two-hour meeting with the university regarding the reporting and other requirements as per the signed TPA.

The university informed them that there are currently no challenges with the project, that workers are back at work, and the issues have been resolved.