North West residents implored President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet to address issues related to unemployment, crime, corruption and poor service delivery in the province – among other issues – during the Presidential Imbizo on Saturday.
Ramaphosa was in the province for the inaugural post-State of the Nation Address (Sona) Presidential Imbizo.
He was joined by North West Premier Bushy Maape, a delegation of Cabinet ministers, members of the provincial executive council, and district and local mayors.
District Development Model
The Imbizo at Mmabatho Stadium in Mahikeng was part of the president’s efforts to oversee the implementation of the District Development Model, which integrates planning and budgeting across all three spheres of government.
The visit was also meant to update communities on progress made in governance in the province, since national government placed the North West under administration in May 2018.
Scores of people took turns to raise their grievances with Ramaphosa and his ministers about unemployment, crime and poor service delivery at dysfunctional municipalities.
‘Our potholes are just too much’
The Mayor of Mahikeng Local Municipality, Tshepiso Mphehlo, told the president that Mahikeng was the capital city of the North West, but the living conditions and status of roads in the town were appalling.
“Our potholes are just too much, Mr President. Our streets are dark in the evening, our water is dirty and at times we have many interruptions in our water supply,” Mphehlo said, to loud applause from the crowds that gathered.
He said the municipality was committed to tackling these challenges but asked for national government to lend a helping hand to local leaders.
“I’m glad that you’re starting this Imbizo in Mahikeng so that when we have these platforms, where we can have an opportunity to say ‘we have achieved this’, so that our people can know that we are really committed to changing their lives,” he said.
Other residents raised concerns over the poor state of infrastructure at public schools, the living conditions of military veterans and challenges faced in the province’s tourism and agricultural sectors.
Ramaphosa said the presidential Imbizo would also be held in other provinces.
He said the platform was important for government to interact with communities on their lived experiences and to find solutions to improve communities’ socio-economic conditions.
“The North West has been chosen as the first province to test drive this Imbizo process, and it is very very successful,” he said.
Ramaphosa committed to tackling the challenges raised by residents.
“There are key issues that have been raised which I want our ministers to give some insight into because we are here under the umbrella of the District Development Model.
“The model speaks about government working together in all the three spheres of government to fix the problems that you have. Each one of us is accountable on specific issues that are challenging to you,” the president said.
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