Motlanthe assesses antipoverty interventions

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Durban - A high profile government delegation, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, visited impoverished communities in uMsinga in KwaZulu-Natal in an effort to assess progress that has been made in government's War on Poverty Campaign.

The War on Poverty Campaign aims to fast-track the delivery of social and municipal services to improve the lives of the people. The campaign targets the poorest areas in the country assisted by data from Statistics South Africa.

National ministers didn't waste time in taking action to improve the lives of people in uMsinga as on the spot decisions were taken to address some of the predominant issues faced by the communities. 

Minister for Public Works, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, led a team to visit three families in another part of Msinga.

She said her department will help them extend their homes to accommodate all of their family members. The department will join forces with local businessmen to achieve this goal. 

Two youths from one of the families have been drafted into the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to complete a learnership.

Arrangements have been made for the sibling of the youth to attend school again, and Mahlangu-Nkabinde committed to also including the grade 10 learner into the EPWP at a later stage.

Poverty had a detrimental effect on education in this area and along with lack of water and electricity, the community continues to struggle.

Other problems identified by Motlanthe and his team, were alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and poor infrastructure.

The Home Affairs department was kept busy because most families that were visited did not have adequate identification documentation. The lack of birth certificates and IDs are preventing lots of people from accessing social grants.

Motlanthe visited six families who recently received new homes after years of strife. One of the families, had to send some of their children to their neighbours to sleep because their shack couldn't accommodate all of them.

The Mvelase family was the first family that Motlanthe spoke too, and with like most of the others, tears flowed as they told the deputy president about the hardships that they face.

KZN MEC for Social Development Meshack Radebe told Motlanthe the Mvelase family received their house as a result of the Nelson Mandela Day initiative.

Radebe said his department has also assisted the Mvelase family by sorting out their IDs which means they now collect a social grant.

The community was given a chance to address Motlanthe and the ministers.

One resident asked for a shopping centre to be built because he feels it is quite far to go into their town, Greyton, to access banking and other services.

While quite a few houses showed off their gardens, one woman told government that she received the seeds to participate in the One Home, One Garden project but still had issues accessing water.

With teenage pregnancy widespread in the area, one gentleman asked for assistance with family planning.

Although these issues still persist in this rural area, improvements have been made.

All the people that spoke up thereafter filled out forms so that follow up meetings can take place by respective government officials.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said many grant applications were approved from the previous visits to the area by government.

Gordhan was also encouraged by people who are utilising the Adult Basic Education (ABET) programme.

Motlanthe reassured the public that government has not forgotten them and improvements will continue to be made.-BuaNews