Sunday, 10 April 2022

Bloemfontein: Lack of service delivery, corruption, inadequate housing and crime – these are some of the challenges President Cyril Ramaphosa has committed government will address in Mangaung Metro, Free State.

The First Citizen on Saturday led a Presidential Imbizo to engage Mangaung residents on the challenges they face daily. The imbizo was part of the District Development Model (DDM), which is being rolled out to improve the quality of life for citizens.

“We have heard your concerns and as government, we are going to address them,” President Ramaphosa said during the community engagement at the Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.

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.

Before proceeding to the Imbizo, President Cyril Ramaphosa inspected the Vereeniging interchange and Vista Residential project in Bloemfontein, 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 then proceeded to the Motheo TVET Artisans College, which is one of the four public TVET Colleges in the Free State.

During the Imbizo, the President on Saturday assured that government is dealing with corrupt officials, and that services will be delivered to the people of Mangaung.

“Change is here… and change is going to continue being present here,” President Ramaphosa said.

Keen to make their voices heard, residents sent over 3 000 WhatsApp messages to the Presidency. President Ramaphosa committed that Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, and his staff will look at the concerns raised and respond to them.

Residents speak out, officials commit to act

Ezekiel Mphahlele, a Mangaung local who attended the imbizo, said he looks forward to government dealing with their long-standing concerns.

“I hope things are going change. The President is going to crack the whip and remove all the corrupt officials in our municipality,” Mphahlele said.

Another resident, Ephraim Lekalakala, wants corrupt officials removed because they “only employ their friends and family members”.

“We can’t get employed because these officials want us to bribe them before they employ us,” Lekalakala said.

In his response to concerns about crime, Police Minister, Bheki Cele, assured the community that he will visit the area again in three weeks’ time.

Cele said police will arrest criminals, regardless of their nationality.

“We arrest first then ask later where you come from,” the Minister said.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, responded to concerns about blocked sewage pipes, saying his department will fix all worn out pipes.

With regard to the province’s roads, Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, said his department has set aside R1.4 billion to fix the province’s roads.

The Minister said the South African National Roads Agency has been asked to assist with fixing roads in the Free State.

President Ramaphosa once again assured that his administration is dealing with corrupt officials in order to pave the way to efficient, timely service delivery.

He said the imbizo must result in the resolution of the service delivery problems raised by the community.

He thanked the community of Mangaung for participating in the imbizo.

President Ramaphosa kick-started the imbizo by visiting the Vereeniging Interchange, following the extension of Vereeniging Avenue and the construction of a bridge over the railway line. This infrastructure project was initiated for spatial integration and to alleviate traffic congestion.

From there, the President proceeded to 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.

At today’s imbizo, the President was accompanied by the Premier of Free State, Sisi Ntombela, a delegation of Ministers, members of the provincial executive council and the Mayor of Mangaung.

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

About the DDM

Cabinet adopted the DDM in August 2019. It is an integrated 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 that will be more practical, achievable, implementable, measurable and clearly aligned to the key priorities of the government.