President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed government’s commitment to leave no one behind in delivering basic services.
The President assured residents of the ZF Mgcawu District Municipality in the Northern Cape that all three spheres of government are dealing with service delivery challenges and issues they face.
President Ramaphosa held the 5th Presidential Imbizo on Friday at the Mxolisi Dicky Jacobs Stadium in the ZF Mgcawu District in Upington, Northern Cape.
To date, President Ramaphosa has visited five provinces, namely the North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Northern Cape to interact with residents.
Major challenges raised by community members at the Presidential Imbizo include basic services such as water and electricity, the illicit drug trade, the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant, ownership of minerals, poverty and unemployment, corruption, dilapidated infrastructure and limited healthcare facilities.
President Ramaphosa interacted with people and listened to their experiences of daily life in the province, service delivery challenges, as well as their initiatives and solutions to improve socio-economic conditions.
“We are a government that listens to our people… We have listened and everything you have said has been written down because you have raised important issues that are of concern… We are a government that has taken a policy position that no one must be left behind and that is what we have decided to do,” the President said.
The President reiterated that whatever government does must be inclusive and involve all the people.
“Sometimes we don’t do as well as we want to because of the challenges we have. Some of you have touched on those challenges. The shortage of resources is one of the big challenges and you have also touched on a huge challenge of unemployment which is big in the Northern Cape.”
One of the residents raised a concern about the employment policies in government, which mainly focus on those who are between the ages of 18 and 35.
In response to this, President Ramaphosa said government’s programmes on unemployment have to include everyone.
“It has now been made clear to us that we cannot just target those particular age groups. We must go beyond 35 as well.
“We have started with the programme targeting people aged 18 to 35, but many people remain unemployed. Up to 64% of those who don’t work are people below 35. At the same time, those who are 36 and above are also unemployed, so they must also be targeted. Our programmes for unemployment have to [include] everyone so that we do not leave anyone behind,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa said izimbizo are designed to listen to service delivery challenges encountered by community members. He said while they may not be able to provide immediate answers to everything raised, “there is always a solution”.
Another community member raised a concern that healthcare workers in Gauteng are now being incorporated and made permanent into the system, more than other provinces.
The President said health workers around the country have been doing a fantastic job. He highlighted their contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From a World Health Organization (WHO) point of view, we need to bring more health workers into the health system so that they focus on primary healthcare. Health workers have shown that they can play a key role. Our major concern has been our budgetary challenges because the money that we should be deploying to bringing in many more healthcare workers has been limited but we are beginning to see the economy grow.”
The President said with revenue looking up, more can be spent on “education, health and social grants”.
“We are one of those countries in the world that has done quite a lot to look after the welfare of our people,” he said.
The President described his imbizo in the Northern Cape as “one of the best” he has ever held.
Source: South African Government News Agency