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Date: 03 Jun 2012
Title: President encourages citizens to engage with govt
Ngobi - South Africans must talk to government regarding pertinent issues that affect their lives, especially service delivery, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
"You have a right to speak about what you feel is not being done correctly. It helps us to realise our short-comings," Zuma told a packet community meeting in Ngobi.
Zuma paid a monitoring and evaluation visit to the Ngobi area, which falls under the Moretele local municipality in the North West province.
At the meeting, following several stops around the community, Zuma invited community members to raise concerns about their area.
Issues raised with the President -- who was accompanied by several Cabinet ministers including the Ministers of Energy Dipuo Peters; Social Development Bathabile Dlamini; Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa; Economic Development Ebrahim Patel and Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane -- ranged from sanitation, a lack of water as well electricity and issues around land and roads.
The visit came about as a result of Mmatsheko Pine's email to the President about service delivery in the area, particularly water access.
Boikanyo Maseko, one of the residents who was granted an opportunity to engage the President, highlighted that elderly people on pension now collected their monies from someone's yard, this after being moved from a local school and church.
In her reply, Dlamini said eight Social Development offices were to be built in the province this year. A total of 66 563 grants were being paid out in the Moretele municipality. The department was re-registering all pension fund recipients.
"We want to make it easy for all grant recipients, we want to fight crime. We've already started registering from 1 June till the end of July. For older persons above 75, we are going to register them at their homes," said Dlamini, adding that they would do the same for the sick and severely disabled.
Given an opportunity to reply to electricity concerns by the community, Peters said she was aware that people were still waiting to have electricity connected to their homes. Government is committed to connecting 150 000 homes a year.
Among other things in the last financial year, 452 connections were made in the Los-my-Cherrie area, while 750 connections will be made in the Moeka area.
Peters, however, urged the community to refrain from cable theft.
Zuma said the area's 11 boreholes had been properly serviced and were now able to provide water, while an additional 10 had been constructed.
"... We're not just here to come and make promises. We came as an answer to a young lady with a water problem, we've begun to resolve that problem..." the President reassured the gathered community.
Adding to the President's comments, Molewa said the construction of a 2.5MI water reservoir had already started in the area as part of the Ngobi Water Project, which also involved the electrification of boreholes and construction of pump stations.
Meanwhile, Patel said following a meeting with the Madibeng municipality on Friday, water and sanitation, roads, electricity, clinics and schools had been identified as top priority, and national agencies would coordinate work on these projects with provincial and local government.
"If we can unlock infrastructure, North West can become a fast-growing, prosperous province. You have enormous mineral wealth and yet you have huge levels of poverty. Infrastructure holds the key to unlock the wealth of this province and make sure that the people in the province benefit from it," said Patel.
Zuma said people had the right to raise their concerns.
"This is your government; you have the full right to raise your concerns. Some of you were very sharp and ... open ... that is what we need," he said after listening to the community.
"We need to know, at all levels of government, whether we are all doing the same thing by attending to and servicing people."
Earlier in the day, Zuma officially opened the South African Social Security Services Agency service point at the Cyverskuil community hall, after which he visited the home of Mmatsheko Pine, who had written to him about water problems in the area.
He also visited Gaseitsiwe High School to hand over a mobile science laboratory donated by Kusile Laboratories and Technology. - BuaNews