In the context of the high unemployment and poverty rates in South Africa, this research was undertaken to explore the best practices of successful international public works programmes (PWPs) around the world. The aim was to develop a strategy for poverty alleviation and job creation with respect to the infrastructure sector of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in South Africa. The purpose of the EPWP is to make the unemployed more employable through offering beneficiaries temporary employment and training opportunities. In the literature review, the strategy for poverty alleviation and job creation was formulated in terms of the design elements and implementation aspects of PWPs. This strategy was then used to evaluate the infrastructure sector of the EPWP. The data collection took the form of interviews with key informants who are directly involved with the infrastructure sector of the EPWP. The nature of the enquiry was qualitative, with narrative and content analysis used to explore the data. The research found that, overall, the design elements and the implementation aspects of the infrastructure sector of the EPWP are not appropriate for enabling the unemployed to become more employable on a large scale. Based on the international best practices, recommendations were then put forward as improvements which would enable the infrastructure sector of the EPWP to achieve its objectives more effectively.