President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured communities in the uThukela District Municipality, in Ladysmith that government Ministers will work to resolve their challenges and that their issues will not be put on the back burner.
President Ramaphosa was speaking on Friday during the 7th Presidential District Development Model (DDM) Imbizo at the Oqungwini Sport Field. The Imbizo follows similar engagements that have taken place in the six provinces of the North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Western Cape.
The President interacted with people and listened to their experiences of daily life, their service delivery challenges as well as their initiatives and solutions to improve socio-economic conditions.
“We have heard all that you have said here, I am happy you gave us the time to listen to what we had to say to you in regards to the service delivery challenges you face. The challenges you laid out here will be addressed and Ministers will do follow up visits to see that they are resolved,” the President said.
In the spirit and theme of leaving no one behind, the President and leaders from the three spheres of government interacted with members of communities on service delivery issues and general problems in municipalities.
Basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity, network connectivity, dilapidated roads, unemployment, the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant, limited healthcare facilities, and a lack of recreational centres were the main challenges the communities laid bare to the President.
The President acknowledged that network connectivity was one of the biggest challenges.
“It is true that network is not there, the Premier has already explained that coverage and penetration is only 11% - which is not sufficient. I sympathise with you, as you have already mentioned that it is difficult for you to get feedback when you apply for jobs due to the shortage of network.
“We have a programme called SA connect which we will utilise to connect the entire country especially rural areas, so we are going to make sure that you also get connected so that you can have your own network,” the President said.
On the issue of policing, the President told communities that their cries have been heard and said the Minister of Police Bheki Cele would return to the area to work with local authorities.
“We have heard about the issues of police stations around here and Minister Cele will come back to work with MECs and aMakhosi to resolve issues of crime and policing,” he said.
Some residents complained that services or projects stopped because there had been a change in leadership. In response to this, the President said the work of government must be consistent and it must not stop because of change in leadership.
Regarding the poor state of some of the roads, the President promised the residents that had gathered at the event that government would do more when it comes to roads while noting that there has been some improvement in certain areas.
President Ramaphosa said government will come up with more projects like the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) to create more jobs for the youth.
“The issue of unemployment does not only affect those who are 18-35, it is right across the country. We will come up with projects that will provide employment opportunities. We currently have the PES, which hired one million people throughout the country.
“We want it to continue, we are working hard to create more jobs to boost the economy. We must start building our jobs at a local government level, as well as provincial level,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa said government was busy resolving the water challenges across the country.
He told the community members that the Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu has been visiting different areas to assess their challenges and that he was working hard to resolve them.
“It is not true that government is doing nothing regarding the water challenges. We are doing a lot and we are laying out money here in the province and nationally as well to address water challenges.”
President Ramaphosa extended his gratitude to the scores of residents for gathering at the venue and thanked those who acknowledged the work being done by government in their communities.
The Imbizo follows a commitment he made to engage with communities throughout the country in his 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The imbizo platform builds on the District Development Model (DDM), which calls for greater cooperation between citizens and public representatives.
The DDM embodies an approach by which the three spheres of government and state entities work in unison in an impact-oriented way, and where there is higher performance and accountability for coherent service delivery and development outcomes. – SAnews.gov.za