State-Community Collaboration for Safe Communities – Promoting Urban Violence Prevention in Public Employment Programmes

By Selby Xinwa, Researcher, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation


The Community Work Programme (CWP) is a government led programme that was founded by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (DCoGTA) in April 2010. Inspired by Public Employment Programmes in India, CWP represents an attempt to directly address the high levels of unemployment in South Africa through the provision of two days of employment, per week, on an ongoing basis to individuals. Through a participatory process, community members engage with CWP participants to identify, create and implement activities that, in ideal circumstances, are both meaningful and useful to their communities. As of March 2013, CWP has grown to include just over 200 000 participants from 154 sites. While the CWP has provided an economic safety net to highly vulnerable individuals and contributing the development of their communities, research by CSVR has also highlighted how CWP has the potential to contribute to the prevention of violence through:

  • Provision of Early Childhood Services in communities
  • Recruiting and engaging ex-offenders (which contributes to their social reintegration)
  • Engaging youth at risk not to engage in violent and criminal activities
  • Substance abuse treatment skills (referral to rehabilitation services)
  • Safety patrols of high-risk crime zones

On the basis of the above, a three year pilot project is being implemented in four Gauteng sites namely Orange Farm, Ivory Park, Tembisa and Erasmus. The focus of the project is to continue to support the work that CWP participants already do on the aforementioned six areas – providing capacitation and support to participants in a way that contributes to sustainable peace. Once trained, participants utilise their strengthened capacities to engage in violence prevention activities that include multiple stakeholder engagement, awareness-raising and mobilising community members around issues of violence prevention.



Trainings take place in Orange Farm, April 2017


During late Septemer 2016 and early 2017, a series of meetings, workshops and consultations were hosted with CWP stakeholders. The meetings helped CSVR facilitate the plans for the project with the aim of clarifying the necessary contents of the training manual that was formulated to support participants. Following its completion, CSVR also hosted a two-day workshop with leading experts in the six focus areas, held in January 2017.



Reference team members which includes, CSVR, GIZ and CWP Stakeholders, January 2017


Trainings commenced in 20th March and ended on the 10th May June 2017. The CSVR facilitators to the trainings adopted a participatory approach, where learning took place by combining formal subject-related knowledge with the participants’ own experiences, group discussions and critical reflection. The trainings were also implemented in a way that recognized that participants from different backgrounds would bring with them diverse experiences, knowledge and strengths, which contributed to shared learning and empowerment


Trainings take place in Tembisa April 2017, 2017


Overall the trainings have been a great success and learning experience for participants, implementing partners and CSVR. Participants have demonstrated high levels of commitment and enthusiasm towards the programme and are now developing their own interventions with the support of the CSVR team. The CWP capacitation process demonstrates the significant potential of the programme to contribute to greater collaboration among local stakeholders.



CWP Participants take part in the trainings in Ivory Park, 2017


Copyright © 2020 CSVR. All Rights Reserved.