Jobs, water, electricity top list of service delivery needs

Friday, September 1, 2017

President Jacob Zuma says employment, housing, water, electricity and civic issues such as birth certificates are issues that have emerged as mostly raised by citizens when government conducts monitoring visits. 

The President said this when he appeared before the National Assembly for a question and answer session on Thursday.

He said government’s monitoring and evaluation programmes have become invaluable tools in helping the state to identify service delivery successes, as well as challenges with the aim of improving governance and service delivery to all citizens.

Citizens, the President said, use the Presidential Hotline among other means to voice their service delivery concerns.

“As at the end of July 2017, the main issues citizens complained about were employment, housing, water, electricity and civic issues such as the need for birth certificates or identity documents.

“In addition, over 900 government facilities have been visited through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring Programme, which was launched in 2011,” he said.

The President was responding to a question raised by ANC MP Regina Lesoma, who had asked what issues were emerging from service delivery monitoring mechanisms. 

President Zuma said through the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme, which was launched in July 2012, he visits communities to inspect and assess progress made in delivering basic services to the people.

“The Siyahlola visits focus on specific basic service delivery issues such as water, electricity, education, health or any other issue that a particular community has raised as a concern or which government undertook to act upon.

“Government departments and agencies undertake follow-ups after the Presidential visit and ensure that issues raised by the community are attended to,” he said.

He said since the beginning of this year, the Siyahlola visits have been undertaken focussing on the fight against crime at Kwamhlab’uyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal, where the community had complained about the theft of vehicles which are taken to Mozambique.

He also said that in Soshanguve in Tshwane, residents were faced with serious challenges relating to drug abuse and resultant crimes.

“A visit was also undertaken to Nyanga in Cape Town, a township that has been dubbed the murder capital of the country, where people live in fear of attacks daily.

“The Presidential Siyahlola visit also took us to Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape to tackle crime. Work is still ongoing in these [areas] to advance the fight against crime and also to deal with other socio-economic issues raised by communities.

“Other government monitoring mechanisms in place include the Presidential Imbizo Programme through which the President, accompanied by Ministers, Premiers, Deputy Ministers, MECs and Mayors, interacts with members of the community and hear their concerns and suggestions.

“In addition to the Presidential Imbizo, the Government Communications and Information System organises comprehensive and extensive formal imbizo focus week programmes where Ministers and Deputy Ministers visit certain communities for feedback and to monitor the implementation of programmes,” he said.  

The President also said that the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) leads the Batho Pele (People First) programme, which promotes citizen care in the public service.

“Through [Project] Khaedu, run by the DPSA, senior managers undergo training and visit the coal face, spending at least a week gaining a first-hand account of people’s experience of service delivery.

“The Department of Social Development runs project Mikondzo through which they visit communities and identify people in need of assistance including orphans, vulnerable children, the aged,” he said.  

President Zuma said Premiers and Mayors also undertake direct monitoring of service delivery, where a key factor that has arisen is the need to promote integrated planning.

“It is for this reason that the Siyahlola and Imbizo programmes bring together all three spheres of government in addressing specific service delivery issues.

“If people complain about water, they are likely to need electricity or transport as well, which means all affected departments and spheres of government should work together putting the citizens first. We have also identified communication as a key challenge.

“Government may think a community needs a school first when they actually need a clinic first and a school later. We will continue to use these programmes to improve governance and also to keep in close contact with the citizens that we serve.” – SAnews.gov.za

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