Thusong centers reaching rural communities

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pretoria - The Thusong Service Centres have significantly contributed to rural development by ensuring people in rural areas had more access to information.

Currently, the 165 centers across the country are making a crucial contribution to the expansion of infrastructure for access to information and services that citizens can use, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Dina Pule, said on Wednesday.

She told the National Assembly during the GCIS Budget Vote that this network of centres is complemented by over 40 joined up mobile units. This network is served by about 999 government employees.

Thusong centres are multi-purpose community centres aimed at improving service delivery and increasing access to government services for the poor and previously disadvantaged.

According to Pule, the establishment of these centres is a great example of how government departments can work together seamlessly and take services to the people.

"As government, it is important to work together and cooperate with one another in all spheres of government, whether provincial, national or local in order to make an impact and achieve results for the benefit of the people," Pule said.

The GCIS will lead the government-wide communication drive. More effective partnerships between public and private sectors had to be harnessed for better delivery, said Pule.

Pule also mentioned that GCIS has partnered with ward councillors, traditional leaders and their accompanying structures, civil society including religious groups, women, youth and the disabled from the country's rural communities, in putting in place systems and mechanisms to ensure that the public has consistent access to information on programmes, policies and opportunities.

"When we communicate effectively with our communities, we will be able to address issues and concerns, therefore minimize service delivery protests," Pule said.

She envisaged a process of investigating a government-wide monitoring and reporting platform for communication, where a councillor can visit each and every household, then report back on challenges faced by those households individually.