KZN Premier visits government, community projects to assess impact

Friday, March 31, 2023

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube has led several Operation Sukuma Sakhe (stand up and build) oversight visits this week to engage communities and assess the impact of government projects on ordinary citizens.

Operation Sukuma Sakhe is a continuous interaction between government and the community to come together to achieve various outcomes.

Dube-Ncube unveiled high-impact service delivery projects that will deliver a visible improvement in the lives of communities in Gamalakhe, Bhobhoyi, Mvutshini, KwaMadlala, KwaNyuswa, Oshabeni and Mbotsha, which fall under the Ugu District Municipality.

Together with Members of the Executive Council, the Premier launched a free WiFi hotspot at Gamalakhe taxi rank, as part of the SMART KZN project, which involves the rollout of digital empowerment programmes, capacity development, entrepreneurship and data skills.

Dube-Ncube also toured the Real Quick layer poultry farming project, which is aimed at ensuring food security.

Other projects visited included the One Home One Garden project in the Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality, which covers over 14 Wards. The project is worth R375 000 and is funded by Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

The project will commence in April 2023 and will end in March 2024. It will assist households to produce enough food to meet basic household food security needs and where viable, to sell the surplus for generating income.

Addressing social ills

The Premier announced the establishment of two rehabilitation centres as part of the provincial government’s response to the drug problem in communities.

Drugs and alcohol abuse are central to the rise in levels of criminality and the provincial government has directed municipalities to deal decisively with crime and drugs.

“When we tackle criminality, there is a role for the agencies of the State, but there is a role also for us as individuals. When we want to deal with drug and alcohol abuse, the role for the State is there, but we will not resolve this problem without working together with communities,” said Dube-Ncube.

She also gave a progress report on water challenges affecting communities in Ugu District.

Working with the province, Ugu District Municipality has developed a strategic six-point plan to tackle water issues. The plan is closely aligned to the Provincial Water Master Plan.

Dube-Ncube reiterated government’s commitment to bettering the lives of people, particularly the youth. She urged community members to work with government to ensure that resources and services provided are protected at all times, as they are meant to benefit them.

The visits ended with public engagements at various community halls, where the people were afforded an opportunity to engage with the provincial government on the challenges they face and discuss possible solutions.

Local resident, Vusi Madlala, urged government to fast track the resurfacing of Ray Nkonyeni Road, as it is the main link between Gamalakhe township and nearby town, Port Shepstone. 

“The potholes pose a threat to motorists travelling on this road. As a result, some motorists opt to use alternative routes, which adds to the travelling time,” he said

Bongumusa Zulu, a peer educator who provides counselling for youth affected by drug abuse, called on the Department of Social Development to assist him with work space and other resources to provide an effective service to his local community.

“As a former drug addict, the community relies on me to assist the youth who are currently affected by drug addiction. However, my limitation is that I work from my home and am not receiving any financial support to carry out this job. 

“I would appreciate it if the Department of Social Development could provide me with the necessary support. I am aware of the challenges faced by the youth that often lead them to drug abuse. Working with the Department of Social Development, I believe we would be able to extend our services and assist more youth to kick their drug addiction.”

Dube-Ncube committed that the concerns raised by the community will be given attention, working with local community structures and the municipality.

She said war rooms will address the issue of accessibility of government services raised by the community.

“The Operation Sukuma Sakhe approach embraces community partnership, and we want it to be more impactful and deliver visible improvement in the lives of communities. It supports the coordinated implementation of service delivery interventions aimed at curbing social ills, crime, drug abuse, unemployment, inequality and poverty.

“The greater involvement of communities in the provision of services should contribute to greater transparency, and accountability and reduce opportunities for corruption. Our communities must actively participate and be represented in the war rooms because they all have a role to play in resolving issues affecting their wards,” said the Premier.

KZN MEC for Education, Mbali Fraser, visited the Bhekamanyuswa Early Childhood Development Centre and assessed progress in the construction of Road D1084 in Ward 34.

The MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Super Zuma, and Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza engaged with commuters at the Port Shepstone taxi rank.

KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane engaged commuters at the KwaMadlala Taxi Association, who raised their concerns around the access road and the formalisation of the rank precinct. –