2005 Winner
Western Cape Province, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
South Africa

Description: The Overstrand Local Labour Promotion Project was established in 2005 as a means of effecting socio-economic upliftment. It was devised as part of the local authority's strategy to bring about poverty alleviation through job creation, whilst enhancing the prospects of reducing outstanding municipal consumers' debt. The project is located in the Zwehile township, where a change room and public toilets were built at the local sports field. Participants earned a weekly wage, whilst contributing financially towards servicing their debt. For the purposes of this project the Municipal Working Capital Fund was utilized. The principle employed was that the participant (debtor) was allocated R2 from the fund for every R1 contributed by the debtor from his or her own resources (income earned on the project). The joint amount would be offset against the participating debtor's municipal account. Participants also received onsite training that made them more marketable.

Innovation: The Overstrand Municipality is the first municipality in the Western Cape to launch a project of this nature. Job opportunities were created for unemployed local residents, while municipal debt was serviced and the municipality was able to provide facilities as mandated by the Constitution.

Effectiveness: Outstanding debt amounting to R246 000 was cleared from the books over a period of 16 weeks, this amount represented the outstanding debt of 18 participants. The initial projected cost of the project was R350 000. Beneficiaries are satisfied with the project, since they managed to discharge their indebtness unto the municipality in a relatively short period. The municipality was able to meet its mandate by providing services to its constituency. The tools that were initially supplied by the municipality were bought by the participants at the end of the project, thus enabling them to work on other prospective projects in the future. A woman from the community was engaged to take full charge of the entire plumbing component.

Poverty Impact: Participants received onsite training and were able to service their municipal debt, resulting in the re-connecting of electricity and water supplies.

Sustainability: The project was a once-off initiative that was completed in June 2005 and was funded and managed by the municipality.

Replication: The model utilised by the municipality can be replicated in other settings where similar challenges exist. The model is being replicated in Hawston and can be extended to other areas of service delivery, such as housing.