President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga has left residents hopeful that the visit will change their lives for the better.
The small Mpumalanga town, located in the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality in the Nkangala District, is the latest to be visited by President Zuma as part of the recent Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring tour.
Siyahlola is a programme that allows the President to interact directly with communities and monitor government’s performance.
Speaking to Vuk’uzenzele, locals were specific about the issues they want to discuss with the President. Top of their list was the scarcity of water followed by unemployment and issues related to housing.
”Our visit today is a step to promote the performance of municipalities. We are happy to visit a municipality that had faced enormous problems which is now improving.”
“The Siyahlola programme is designed to allow the President to come and see for himself what is happening on the ground. My visit here follows an earlier visit I paid to Marabastad in Pretoria where people pleaded with me that I come and visit Kwaggafontein,” President Zuma said.
He told the gathering of more than 1 000 people that local government is a very important sphere of government as it is the one closest to people.
“Our visit today is a step to promote the performance of municipalities. We are happy to visit a municipality that had faced enormous problems which is now improving,” he said.
President Zuma also congratulated the provincial government for eradicating the bucket system by 98 percent over the past year. He also indicated that the Department of Transport was to rehabilitate the notoriously dangerous Moloto Road.
“A decision has been taken and construction will begin in September and the work will be in stages with the first critical 25 kilometres set to receive priority.”
In his response to some of the issues raised by community members, President Zuma said government had taken note of the high unemployment rate in the area and that it had been trying to mitigate the problem through the Community Work Programme (CPW). CPW provides work opportunities for more than
1 000 people in the area twice a week.
To deal with water shortages in Kwaggafontein, President Zuma said, among other interventions, a new water reservoir and pipeline would be built in nearby KwaMhlanga.
The President also handed over keys to refurbished houses to several beneficiaries in the local township.