Public works and the ticking of SA's unemployment time bomb

Posted by Alison Siljeur | 8 Aug, 2006
PUBLIC works is one of those low-key departments that most South Africans know very little about. Yet it has been given a vital task - creating 1-million jobs in five years under the expanded public works programme.

It's a controversial and largely misunderstood initiative, but I'll get to that later. What it needs to succeed is a motivated, dynamic political leader who can negotiate with provincial and local government as well as the private sector. That is why President Thabo Mbeki's plans to overhaul the public works department are so important. The overhaul actually started in May when Thoko Didiza was appointed public works minister, following the death of Stella Sigcau. The appointment was an encouraging sign. Didiza was not quite 30 years old when she took over the challenging role of agriculture minister. While much remains to be done in this portfolio, she managed to balance often competing ideological stances within the African National Congress (ANC) on how to manage land reform. Read More