President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured the communities of the Gert Sibande District Municipality in Mpumalanga that all three spheres of government are hard at work to resolve their challenges and issues.
He was speaking during the Presidential Imbizo held in the town on Friday which was preceded by an engagement with business people.
The imbizo is a platform for community members to raise all of their challenges to government officials including ministers, deputy ministers, provincial leaders and local government leaders led by the president.
Major challenges raised by community members at the Presidential Imbizo include the delivery of basic services, challenges in farming, bad road maintenance, land ownership issues, gender based violence and femicide and youth unemployment.
“The issue of job opportunities is one that we are working on day and night and we are doing so at a heightened level as we seek to implement our economic recovery and reconstruction plan which we are working through as we continue to promote investment in our economy and as we continue to make our country more investment attractive.
“One of the things we should be doing is to give [the youth] skills so that as you said…that when they get skills, different sorts of skills, they should in the end be able to create their own jobs,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa highlighted that the Imbizo – which have also been held in the North West and Free State – are invaluable for helping government to zero in on the area specific and general problems municipalities are facing.
“This Imbizo programme is…a very meaningful process that allows our people to be able to talk to government and because we are a government that listens, as you talk, as you put your views across, we are able to take those issues that you are raising and address them. And as you have heard, various departments are going to come back and the rest of the province to address the various challenges that our people are facing.
“Imbizo is a very valuable platform…it has a huge impact on enabling us as local, provincial and national government level to focus on the issues that affect the lives of our people. We have taken copious notes. So what you have been saying is not going to go through one ear and [out] the other. We are going to pay attention to the issues that you’ve raised,” he said.
The President acknowledged that the country has been facing several problems over the past two years which have caused setbacks.
“Our challenges are many as a nation and as a country. Just as we thought we would be able to address the many challenges that we face, COVID-19 descended on us. As we tried to see how best we can navigate our way through COVID-19…it had a negative impact and we lost two million jobs in one year.
“As we began to see our economy [begin to re-emerge], and then the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and that had a huge impact on our GDP. As we were trying to come to terms with that…then the floods in KZN, Eastern Cape and to a lesser extent North West, also descended,” he said.
President Ramaphosa expressed belief that the country is resilient enough to overcome these challenges.
“We have had many challenges in the past. We have had enormous challenges and we have addressed them. And even this challenge we will address. What I can say is that we will be able to emerge out of all these challenges.
“We are South Africans we are made of stellar stuff, we will be able to find out feet beyond all these challenges. Our government…is busy on a continuous basis addressing the challenges and difficulties our people are facing,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za