Zuma to launch programme to transform rural communities

Friday, August 14, 2009

Giyani - President Jacob Zuma will be in the dusty Muyexe village in Limpopo next week to launch a programme aimed at radically transforming rural areas.

The deep rural village with just 2 050 households has come under the spotlight since government chose the Greater Giyani Local Municipality as part of a pilot project for the campaign to develop rural areas. 

The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) was approved at an ordinary meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday.

According to Government Spokesperson, Themba Maseko, the programme will seek to achieve social cohesion and development in rural communities.

He said it was based on three key pillars namely: coordinated and integrated broad-based agrarian transformation; an improved land reform programme and strategic investments in economic and social infrastructure in rural areas. 

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform spokesperson, Nicholas Magada, said the outcome of the CRDP would be sustainable, equitable and vibrant rural communities. 

However, he warned that the successful implementation of the program would depend on community participation, good program development and the monitoring of service delivery in the area.

Muyexe is one of the poorest villages in South Africa - it has no basic services like water, electricity, roads and housing developments, and for many villagers such as Dick Magezi Mabasa, 52, small scale livestock farming is the only means of survival. 

"When there is drought, life becomes difficult because rivers dry up and grass doesn't grow and that makes our animals not to stay healthy," said the father of five who also makes a living from hunting.

Speaking to BuaNews, he said he had noticed the arrival of big cars and government officials in the village over the past months and he hoped that would bring a renewal to the area.

The farmer was alluding to the task team that was deployed to the area by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale in June, to assess the community's most dire needs.

Both the minister and the premier have made subsequent visits to the area to ensure that the recommendations of the task team are being implemented.

The task team identified a few areas of concern after assessing villager's needs from Muyexe, Gonono and Dingamanzi, including the state of the roads in the villages, high rate of pregnancy among learners, lack of sporting facilities, high unemployment rate, access to water and a shortage of RDP housing. 

The assessment was conducted by interviewing not only residents, but all community stakeholders, including the local headman, Ben Khazamula Maluleke Muyexe and the mayor of Giyani Municipality Doris Mathebula. 

Ntlatleho Godwin Letlalo, an official from the department who is part of the task team dispatched to the village, said he was helping ten families get a roof over their heads, after being identified by the task team as beneficiaries. 

A large proportion of the shabby and dilapidated mud roundavel houses in Muyexe have no roofs. Some households are electrified, while several others are still relying on paraffin and candles.

"We are going to build roundavel shape RDP houses, but with a flat roof in the middle as requested by residents. The new houses will have two bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining room. 

"These identified beneficiaries will each get a water tank and fence around their property," explained Mr Letlalo. 

The task team also recommended that a mobile clinic be established to cater for the municipality. Currently, residents have to travel to the distant Mhlava Wellem Clinic. The team also felt that a health-related awareness campaign should be conducted in the community.

Government's rural development programme is expected to be rolled out to other remote areas across the country after an assessment by the task team.