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An investigation of challenges affecting the implementation of project management practices : a case study of Msunduzi Expanded Public works Programme clearing project.

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In 2003, the Expanded Public Works Programme was introduced as a complementary measure to decrease the growing unemployment and poverty rates in South Africa. EPWP focused on expanding methods of labour-intensive production through government-funded projects in order to produce more employment prospects. Recent studies have raised questions on the effectiveness of EPWP in achieving both its environmental and poverty alleviation goals. Recent studies have identified that EPWP has been facing poor performance and inability to meet set annual targets due to poor Project Management. It is against this background that this study investigated the challenges affecting the implementation of Project Management practices in the Msunduzi EPWP clearing project. The study was undertaken in Pietermaritzburg, which is situated in KwaZulu-Natal Province. This study was exploratory; it adopted a qualitative case study approach, primarily investigating the Msunduzi EPWP project. In-depth interviews were used to interview the target population of thirty-one. The target population comprised of all the people in the Project Management level of the Msunduzi EPWP project, including the EPWP board members who oversee Project Management issues for the EPWP projects. Data collected was analysed thematically. Themes that emerged from the analysis of data are presented and discussed under relevant headings formulated from specific research objectives. The results revealed that majority of the people managing the teams do not possess any Project Management qualification. There was also evidence of lacking of training, the Project Manager and contractors were not receiving relevant training to aid them in their job roles. Lack of resources posed as a major contributor to poor Project Management, which has resulted in poor auditing and reporting. There was also no efficient system of Monitoring and Evaluation. The results also revealed that top management intervention in resolving existing Project Management challenges was minimal, it was stated that no strategies have been implemented as a resolution to all identified challenges. In addition, the study revealed that internal administrative delays caused non-compliance in several Project Management practices. This has caused serious implications on the performance of the Msunduzi EPWP project. Several recommendations were established by the researcher to address the Project Management challenges identified in this study. The researcher anticipates that the recommendations will benefit a number of people including government, local leadership, Project Managers, scholars, project workers, contractor, implementing agent‟s, and suppliers.


Master of Commerce. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2019.