Residents of the Sedibeng District Municipality have highlighted housing, sewerage, poor service delivery and unemployment as some of the key areas that government should urgently address to improve their lives.
The residents were expressing their views at the District Development Model Presidential Imbizo led by President Ramaphosa at the Sharpeville Cricket Grounds in Gauteng recently.
Responding to questions and challenges raised by the residents, President Ramaphosa said although the district and the country as a whole faces challenges, government is determined to resolve these.
“As a country we have many challenges but…much as we all have challenges, these challenges are being addressed….one by one. The one challenge that really stood out…was the sewerage that was just flowing into the Vaal river. I’m glad to hear that…this challenge of sewerage, of sanitation is being addressed on an ongoing basis and Minister [of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu]…is addressing this,” he said.
Turning to the high unemployment rate in the district – which stands at some 64% - the President told the gathering that the Vaal Special Economic Zone is pivotal to the revitalisation of industry and consequently more employment of people in Sedibeng.
“By far unemployment is the biggest challenge. The Gauteng government has ambitious plans to revitalise Sedibeng by developing agriculture, by developing logistics, tourism and industries as well. These plans are pivoted around the Vaal SEZ which we have heard has the potential of creating up to 170 000 jobs over the next few years.
“That is a serious number of jobs that will be created right here in Sedibeng,” he said. The President was firm with his assessment of service delivery not only in the Sedibeng District but in local municipalities throughout the country.
“Our municipalities must pay attention to what needs to be done so that our people live with dignity. We want to see an improvement in the lives of our people from a service delivery point of view from now on. We cannot, in this place which used to be the industrial hub of the country, allow our people to live in squalor; in a dirty place,” President Ramaphosa said.