32 families benefit from War Room on Poverty

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Malalane - Thirty-two Mpumalanga families received food parcels, school uniforms and were registered for social grants on Friday as the national War Room on Poverty campaign was launched in Malalane.

Minister in the Presidency Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sicelo Shiceka and Premier Thabang Makwetla launched the campaign in the Sikhwahlane village south of Malalane.

Premier spokesperson Ntime Skhosana said the 32 families faced the daily challenge of having to go to bed without food. They were identified by community development workers and social workers as families most in need.

The provincial government has called the campaign the Sidudul'indlala (meaning bulldozing hunger) campaign.

The launch started with door-to-door visits in the morning and was then followed with a rally at the Sikhwahlane village sports field.

Premier Makwetla asked all government departments to remember that a collective approach was needed for the campaign to be a success.

"To win this war, we need to go to the affected communities and address problems identified by those communities. It will be useless to build a police station for a community that needs public toilets," said Mr Makwetla.

He said that based on the needs analysis alone, the profiled households require support ranging from school uniforms to support grants, food parcels, housing, health care, water and sanitation.

"We also need to encourage our people to revive the spirit of "ubuntu", where we helped each other as neighbours," he said.

He said the Sikhwahlane village should be the first priority for the province in terms of providing infrastructure.

"This anti-poverty war room is a new initiative launched countrywide with the objective to provide a cushion for families living in hardship and having no gainful means of employment," Mr Makwetla said.

Seven provinces have already launched the campaign.

The campaign was co-ordinated by the provincial department of social development. Several local municipalities will serve as priority areas for the roll-out of the programme, namely Nkomazi, Dr JS Moroka, Thembisile, Mkhondo, Bushbuckridge and Albert Luthuli.

By the end of 2009, the campaign will be extended to the other 14 local municipalities.

Former President Thabo Mbeki launch the national War room for a War Against Poverty initiative last year to identify specific households and individuals in dire need and to put in place interventions that will help to alleviate their plight in those individual households.

It brings together departments as well as provincial and local administrations, which will work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and business to identify the interventions required in specific households and implement them as a matter of urgency.