Residents of the Sedibeng District Municipality have identified housing, sanitation, poor service delivery and unemployment as some of the key areas that government must urgently address to improve their lives.
Residents voiced their views on President Ramaphosa’s presidential development model for the Imbizo area at the Sharpeville Cricket Ground in Gauteng on Friday.
Responding to questions and concerns raised by residents, President Ramaphosa said that although the county and the country as a whole were facing challenges, the government was determined to resolve them.
“As a country, we have a lot of problems, but … whatever we all have, these problems are solved … one by one. The only problem that really stood out … was the sewer draining into the Vaal River. I am glad to hear that … this sewerage and sanitation problem is being addressed on an ongoing basis, and the Minister [of Water Senzo] Mchunu… deals with it,” he said.
Addressing the county’s high unemployment rate – which stands at around 64% – the President told the gathering that the Vaal Special Economic Zone is essential for the revival of industry and, consequently, more employment for people in Sedibeng.
“Today, unemployment is the biggest problem. The Gauteng government has ambitious plans to revive Sedibeng through the development of agriculture, logistics, tourism and industry. Those plans center around the Vaal SEZ, which we’ve heard could create up to 170,000 jobs over the next few years.
“That’s a serious number of jobs that will be created here in Sedibeng,” he said.
On housing, President Ramaphosa said the Department of Human Settlements, which has about seven mega-projects in the area, will look into complaints from people living in hostels.
“I believe that from housing, minister [of Human Settlements Mamoloko] Kubai admitted that we have neglected our dormitories over the years. Many of our people still live in dormitories, and we have practically neglected them. I would like us to go to those dormitories and renovate them, and even renovate those apartments that have water supply and sewerage,” he said.
The President was firm in his assessment of service delivery not only in the Sedibeng area but also in local municipalities across the country.
“Our municipalities should pay attention to what needs to be done so that our people can live with dignity. From now on, we want to see our people’s lives improve in terms of service delivery. We cannot in this place, which used to be the industrial center of the country, allow our people to live in poverty; in a dirty place,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President assured the public that their issues will not be sidelined after the launch and said the DDM approach will ensure that these issues are addressed properly.
“[The DDM] it’s a break with the past that we had, and here at the local level, at the district level, it’s about making sure that our communities that have felt neglected in the past are part of the whole problem-solving process as they are and fully consulted.
“Ministers… keep coming back to areas where there are issues they need to address. This shows that we take this kind of engagement with you at Imbizo very seriously and want to be able to follow up on the issues you have raised,” President Ramaphosa said. – SAnews.gov.za