Community Work Programme (CWP)


The CWP has been designed by the South African government to offer a minimum level of regular work to unemployed people in marginalised areas where market-based employment opportunities are limited. The CWP is an area-based programme in which opportunities for ‘useful work’ are identified locally through participatory processes. The programme provides an employment safety net and a source of income security to marginalised people, by providing regular rather than full-time employment, with a predictable number of days of work per month.
The CWP has created a pool of extra hands in the community. The participants assist with school aftercare, they provide home-based care to sick and fragile members of the society, they erect fences at churches and community halls, they assist households to make and maintain food gardens and some do community security patrols around schools and at night. Not only have these work opportunities helped generate desperately needed income for the community members, but the initiative has also created an unprecedented sense of community spirit.




  • Stakeholder interactions at all levels (national, provincial, district and local levels);
  • Creation of a project Reference Committee at municipal level with identified stakeholders. The committee oversees the project at local level and represents the interest of various stakeholders;
  • Recruiting, contracting and orientation of participants;
  • Mentoring of work supervisors and partners;
  • Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), tools and materials;
  • Training and capacity building; and
  • Monitoring and reporting on project implementation to all stakeholders.

Current and past experiences

  • Thembalethu Development is one of the Implementing Agents contracted for the period 2014 to 2017 to manage the Community Work Programme for the South African government Department of Cooperative Governance. Thembalethu Development manages the programme in the Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces. We are responsible for the management of 20 000 participants;
  • For the period 2011 to 2014, we were one of the three national Lead Agents managing the CWP. We were responsible for the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces. Our target was to create work opportunities for 55 000 people by March 2014 in the three provinces. 70 000 work opportunities were created during this period;
  • Since the Community Work Programme pilot project in 2007, Thembalethu Development has managed more than R1.7 billion worth of CWP budget allocated over the years for programme management and payment of wages to thousands of unemployed people.
  • Thembalethu Development has also managed the Expanded Public Works Programme in the Sedibeng District Municipality from September 2015 to April 2016 (400 beneficiaries) and in the Northern Cape, Hantam and Kai !Garib Municipalities (168 beneficiaries) from October 2015 to May 2016.


Community Work Programme Lesedi: After painting park facilities