Community Development Workers commended

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Boksburg – President Jacob Zuma has commended Community Development Workers (CDWs) for the manner in which they execute their duties to help government provide services at grassroots level.

“We rest assured that we are represented well by yourselves in community policing forums, school governing bodies, ward committees, hospital management forums, service delivery improvement forums, and other community structures created to enhance public participation in service delivery,” President Zuma said on Thursday.

Speaking at the CDWs conference currently underway in Boksburg, Zuma said the CDWs have been instrumental in empowering citizens by teaching them to plant food gardens in their communities and villages in order to be self-sufficient.

“Your work as our link with communities is also to assess delivery and to let us know where there are still serious gaps,” he said.

Zuma said more people now had water, electricity, sanitation, housing and other services than before 1994.

“However, the gap remains massive and services are still needed urgently in many areas, especially in former homelands which were most neglected during the era of the apartheid colonialism,” he said.

The conference, which is held under the theme ‘Empowering CDWs through access to information for service delivery improvement’, is aimed at empowering CDWs to understand the key priorities of government and its Programme of Action better and communicate this to the general population.

CDWs will also be empowered to understand factors which have an impact on service delivery, such as the global impact of the economy on South Africa.

CDWs serve as a link between communities with many government services and programmes.

Located within communities, CDWs assist citizens by helping them to access services such as health, welfare, housing, agriculture, economic activity, education and training, and employment opportunities.

Turning the spotlight to service delivery protests, Zuma in some areas, protest action indicated the impatience and frustration among communities.

He said in some instances, it was due to poor communication.

“It is important to improve communication with our people at all times to minimise frustrations that are caused by miscommunication or lack of information.”

“I am aware of your concerns that government departments are sometimes lethargic in their response to service delivery concerns you refer to them on behalf of communities,” Zuma said.

At the same time, Zuma warned that lawlessness would not be tolerated.

“I have instructed the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to put measures in place to ensure that any incidents of violent protest are acted upon, investigated and prosecuted,” he said.

The President said the law must be enforced and it must be seen to be enforced fairly, effective and expeditiously.

With regard to opportunities for young people, Zuma said communities needed to be briefed about opportunities government was providing for youth development.

“We also want young people to know about short-term job opportunities in the Expanded Public Works Programme,” he said.

Zuma also called on CDWs to mobilise citizens to fight the abuse of women and children and crime in general.

“Government alone cannot fight this scourge. We need the support and active participation of communities.

“We are happy to see many civil organisations actively promoting the campaign for safer communities for women and children,” he said.  –