Mangaung communities outline expectations ahead of Presidential Imbizo

Residents of Mangaung, Free State, are eagerly awaiting to hear more on the development plans government has for their area, as President Cyril Ramaphosa undertakes a Presidential Imbizo there today.

President Ramaphosa is in Mangaung today to engage with communities on the District Development Model (DDM) and how this will be implemented to improve their quality of life.

The visit to the province is the second post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Presidential Imbizo, where engagement with citizens is themed on the President’s SONA call to action -- Leave No One Behind.

Shortly before the commencement of the President’s visit, SAnews conducted a snap survey in the area to get the views of the locals about the much-anticipated Presidential Imbizo.

Boitumelo Rampeti, a local resident in Mangaung, said she is keen to hear more about plans aimed at reducing unemployment.

“If given a chance, I would ask the President to give priority to young people with regard to job and business opportunities. There is high youth unemployment in this area.”

Rampeti believes if government prioritises youth for work opportunities, there will be less crime in the area.

“Most young people have resorted to substance abuse, which leads them to commit crime to sustain their criminal lifestyle,” she said.

Echoing the same sentiments, Chris Mabaleng said he would ask the President to consider young people when it comes to business opportunities, as this will reduce the high number of youth unemployment in the area.

“Young people are capable of doing anything if given a chance,” Mabaleng said, adding that many unemployed young people have qualifications or tertiary education.

Mother of two, Bridgett Kgetsi, appealed to the President to crack the whip on municipal officials to improve service delivery.

“Service delivery in this area is very poor. Our roads are in a bad state. In some instances, it takes days for garbage to be collected and in some instances, blocked sewage [is unattended for] days.”

An elderly Ntate Amos Moagi said he would ask the President to increase the older persons grant, as some of the elderly have a lot of responsibilities.

“We too have financial commitments, just like anybody else. Government must consider increasing our grants,” he said.

Turning the metro around

Cabinet this week approved an intervention by the national executive in the governance of Mangaung Metro, in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution.

Following failure by the Free State provincial executive to implement a financial recovery plan in the metro, the municipality has now been placed under national intervention.

In a statement on Friday, The Presidency said this intervention is directed at helping the metro to improve its finances and deliver on its mandate, and to return to sound governance and a better life for residents, the business community and other stakeholders.

“The Presidential Imbizo will assist to highlight challenges and unblock any blockages to service delivery in line with the District Development Model (DDM).

“President Ramaphosa will interact with communities on their experience of daily life in the province, service delivery challenges and initiatives and solutions by communities to improve socio-economic conditions,” the Presidency said.

Putting the DDM to work

Cabinet adopted the DDM in August 2019. It is a comprehensive planning model for cooperative governance, which seeks to be a new, integrated, district-based service delivery approach aimed at fast-tracking service delivery.

It also seeks to ensure that municipalities are adequately supported and resourced to carry out their mandate.

The model was approved by government structures, including Cabinet, to integrate service delivery in a more practical, achievable, implementable and measurable manner, and clearly aligned to the key priorities of the government.

The model seeks to change the face of rural and urban landscapes by ensuring complementarity between urban and rural development, with a deliberate emphasis on local economic development.

The model, which has helped the country to restart and rebuild the local municipal economy, is key to service delivery in the Free State.

Today’s imbizo is aimed at giving impetus to the President’s stated commitment that no one will be left behind as government works with all sectors of society to move the country forward.

Ahead of the imbizo, the President will visit the Vereeniging Interchange, following the extension of Vereeniging Ave and the construction of a bridge over the railway line.

This infrastructure project was initiated for spatial integration and to alleviate traffic congestion.

The President will proceed to the Motheo TVET Artisans College, which is one of the four public Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in the Free State. It comprises six campuses, including a Centre for Entrepreneurship, Rapid Incubator and an artisan academy.

The President will then engage communities at the Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.

The visit to the Free State is the second Presidential Imbizo after President Ramaphosa visited Mahikeng, North West, in March.

The President is accompanied on the visit by the Premier of Free State, Sisi Ntombela, a delegation of Ministers, members of the provincial executive council and the Mayor of Mangaung.

Source: South African Government News Agency