8 October 2007

South Africa: Mbeki Assists Child Headed Family

Wembezi — President Thabo Mbeki has assisted a child headed household in Wembezi, Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal to get Identity Documents (IDs) and child grants.

"They must be assisted to get IDs and immediately be registered for the grant," said the President Mbeki.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Welfare and Social Development Meshack Radebe agreed to assist the family and to ensure that they are registered for the grant.

"I will personally come and ensure that the family is assisted," said MEC Radebe, responding to the President's requests for the family to be assisted.

This took place during the Presidential Imbizo in the area on Sunday, the last day of his two-day visit in the province.

The family consists of three teenage girls who have been living alone in poverty since 1999, after their parents had died.

One of the girls, Ntobeko Dlamini, 17, at the time of the President's visit at their home, told BuaNews that for them life was not easy.

"No one works in the house, we always depend on neighbours for anything we need," she said.

A light moment came when food parcels from government officials who accompanied the President was delivered at their house.

"I don't know what to say, I thank the President for coming and for the food," she said with a smile.

The President spent the morning visiting households in the area talking and shaking hands with residents.

Wembezi is an area situated about 10km from Estcourt and most residents living there are not working.

President Mbeki was accompanied by cabinet ministers including Public Works Minister Thoko Didiza, the province's Premier S'bu Ndebele and his provincial cabinet.

The President visited the area as part of government's ongoing programme of direct interaction with communities to deepen partnership between government and the people.

Izimbizo are full exercise of the country's constitutionally enshrined freedom of speech which encourages ground-level participation through affording the voiceless in the far flung areas of our country an opportunity to directly engage with their president.

The first round of izimbizo was structured so that the leadership of the country interacted with communities over a period of three days with the aim of listening to challenges of municipalities and communities.

The second round was aligned to Project Consolidate, a hands-on local government support and engagement programme, designed to identify challenges that municipalities faced and provided practical solutions.

The third and current phase is a solution-orientated izimbizo designed to partner with communities, private sector and civil society with the aims of finding solutions to the remaining challenges.

The izimbizo bring to the fore the importance of a people-centred government aimed at ensuring the redress of the imbalances of the past through the encouragement of active participation of the people and their political principals in administration and delivery of services.

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