Pretoria - Government has provided an additional R4.8bn over the 2012 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) period for the expanded public works programme, bringing its allocations to a total of R77.8bn.Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said job creation was a central priority of government, with the community work programme receiving an additional R3.5bn.This would enable the number of employed people to increase to 332 000 in 2014/15 from 89 689 in March 2011.Unemployment remained high in SA at 23.9%. Labour force participation was low, with almost 15 million South Africans not economically active. After doubling between 2008 and 2011, the number of discouraged work seekers had stabilised at about 2.3 million, and the broad unemployment rate stood at about 33%. Weak job-creation for young people and those who have not completed matric has exacerbated the challenge of low-skilled and youth unemployment.“This initiative guarantees participants 100 days of work on local community priorities,” Gordhan said in parliament at the presentation of his 2012 budget.“The natural resource management programme (Working for Water, Working on Fire) receives an additional R1.1bn, providing for a total of 135 006 jobs over the medium term from 114 000 jobs in April 2011.”The non-state sector programme received an additional R345m, which would fund about 127 009 cumulative short-term jobs by 2014/15. This is an increase from 48 358 jobs in April 2011.“The National Rural Youth Services Corps receives an additional R200m over the next three years,” he said. “This skills development programme for rural youth has enrolled 7 500 participants and plans to enrol an additional 5 000 per year over the next three years.”An additional allocation of R300m over the MTEF period will support the creation of about 16 000 short-term jobs through the Mzansi Golden Economy strategy in the arts and culture sector.