Press Release: EPWP essential workers to assist at Covid-19 hotspots in the Garden Route

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) as a member of the National Joints (NatJoints) Committee, has to respond to combating the spread of COVID-19 in terms of the Disaster Management Act, No 57 of 2002, as stipulated in the NatJoints Containment Work Stream.

The DPWI has identified the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Non-State Sector (NSS) Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) as the best response mechanism to support the Department of Health to deliver necessary public health services at elementary level for purposes of COVID-19 spread prevention and control. To give effect to this commitment, DPWI has signed a three month addendum with the Independent Development Trust, on 12 April 2020, to contract qualifying NPOs throughout the country in 44 districts and 8 metros, to appoint youth (16-35 years) to participate in this initiative. The NPOs will also be required to sign three month contracts with each EPWP participant. The Garden Route district was allocated 119 participants for the first category of the COVID-19 response (George 41, Hessequa 23, Mossel Bay 15, Oudtshoorn 12, Bitou 10, Knysna 10 and Kannaland 8).

All participants will perform their duties under the supervision of the Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM). Their activities will include the following:

  • health promotion on COVID-19 prevention, hand washing practices and social distancing measures in public places;
  • distribution of hygiene soap and hand sanitizers in identified high risk communities, education on proper handwashing techniques;
  • home-to-home education interventions, where required; and
  • cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched high-risk areas, e.g. communal water collection points, taxi ranks and other places identified by the applicable municipality.

Furthermore the DPWI has issued Personal Protective Equipment and identification cards to the NPOs which must be used by participants while they are on duty.

GRDM EHPs had to identify the hotspots within the Local Municipal areas and guide the participants through an orientation programme to outline their work.

The orientation/ training programme

 The Municipal Health Section of the GRDM was tasked to train the EPWP personnel in line with the Golden rules to prevent/minimise the spread of COVID-19 in the district. The training programme took place at the beginning of June 2020 and included the following disciplines:

  • Wearing of face masks in public areas and while travelling with other individuals in a vehicle (i.e. lift clubs, taxi, bus and/or any other form of public transport);
  • maintaining a social distance of 1.5m;
  • proper hand washing techniques;
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands;
  • proper cough etiquette;
  • waste management (i.e. disposable masks and gloves); and
  • avoiding crowded places as far as it is possible.
Expanded Public Works Programme participants undergo training provided by Environmental Health Practitioners from Garden Route District Municipality.

After undergoing orientation, appointed EPWP participants will conduct awareness at “hotspots” areas which were identified as problematic areas within communities to ensure that all members of the public remain adequately informed to protect themselves.

These “hotspots” areas include;

  • general public facilities, including municipal/ public toilets, taxi ranks etc.;
  • food premises – spaza shops;
  • soup kitchens;
  • informal settlements; and
  • government grant pay points – ATM’s, post offices and/or any other business premises which are utilised to distribute grants.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, extended a word of appreciation to all stakeholders involved in the programme and highlighted: “As a municipality we are glad for the appointment of the EPWP personnel, as all participants will be a great addition to the initiatives of the GRDM in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic”.

The following stakeholders are involved in the coordination of this project; DPWI, Independent Development Trust, NPOs Edu-Plett and God Care International, Department of Employment and Labour, GRDM and Local Municipalities in the Garden Route district.

For more information regarding the project, contact,

Mr Mzimkulu Gusha, National Public Works Programme Manager

Tel: 021 402 2164 / 076 423 7558

Mr Richard Dyantyi, Manager: EPWP at Garden Route District Municipality

Tel: 044 803 1404 / 084 900 5556

Mr Johan Compion, Manager: Municipal Health at Garden Route District Municipality

Tel: 044 803 1525 / 082 803 5161