Lack of service delivery, corruption, inadequate housing and crime – these are some of the challenges President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised government will address in Mangaung Metro, Free State.
He recently led a Presidential Imbizo to find out about the challenges Mangaung residents 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 recently approved an intervention by the national executive in the governance of Mangaung Metro, in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution.
After the Free State provincial executive failed to put in place a financial recovery plan in the metro, the municipality has now been placed under national intervention.
The Presidency said this intervention is aimed 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.
During the imbizo, the President assured residents 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,” he said.
Residents speak out
Ezekiel Mphahlele, a Mangaung local who attended the imbizo, said he looked 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, said corrupt officials should be removed. “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.
He 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 also visited key projects in the Free State. This included the Vereeniging Interchange, following the extension of Vereeniging Avenue and the construction of a bridge over the railway line. This infrastructure project was formed to connect different areas and to reduce traffic congestion. This project is estimated to be worth about R59 million and has created about 800 jobs as part of the Extended Public Works Programme.
Residents of Vereeniging said the bridge would improve safety in the area.
The President also visited Motheo Technical Vocational Education and Training [TVET] Artisans College, which is one of the four public colleges in the Free State. It comprises six campuses, including a Centre for Entrepreneurship, Rapid Incubator and an artisan academy.
The college offers courses related to business studies, engineering and will soon include maritime to tap into the Ocean Economy.
Motheo TVET college has also received a number of awards for the work it does.
The awards include the Excellence in Education by the European Business Academy in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2017, Best TVET College in Disability Support in 2018 and the Professional Market Research Diamond
Award which is the highest award focusing on customer service and satisfaction from 2015 to 2021. – SAnews.gov.za