Pretoria – Government’s sixth National Imbizo Focus Week is firmly underway with 16 imbizo activities already having taken place across the provinces of South Africa.
In a statement on Thursday, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said the Imbizo Focus Week that kicked off on Monday was well underway under the theme of “Together we move South Africa forward: Our future – make it work”.
“This government initiative seeks to promote public participation and ensures that voices and perspectives of communities are heard,” said the GCIS.
Among the imbizo activities that have already taken place include a visit to Moretele Local Municipality and Madibeng Municipality by the Premier of Bokone Bophirima, Supra Mahumapelo, as part of boosting private investment and growing local economies in labour-intensive areas.
In engendering the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst citizens of North West, Premier Mahumapelo mobilised government departments, state owned entities and the private sector to attend the engagement sessions and share procurement opportunities with communities. The visit forms part of the Premier’s Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies (VTSD) enterprise development economic forum engagements.
Premier Mahumapelo also encouraged community members to start and grow their own businesses and grow them as part of reducing unemployment and poverty.
He also stated the provincial government’s commitment to ongoing public participation every month for ten days in all province’s districts.
Meanwhile, residents appreciated the visibility of the provincial government in their communities and the much needed information shared to empower them to participate in local development programmes.
On Thursday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana visited the Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute and the Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry in the Eastern Cape Province.
The Minister’s imbizo focused on strengthening colleges of agriculture to improve the employability of agriculture college graduates and the participation of women and youth in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.
The imbizo also emphasised the implementation of norms and standards for agricultural training institutes which are expected to be officially endorsed as a guideline to the mandate of these colleges.
The gathering also provided a platform to engage with labour, community and commercial farming stakeholders to support and drive the development agenda of food security and rural wealth creation.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thomson also held an imbizo on Thursday at Mooi River, in KwaZulu-Natal province, with stakeholders in the recycling industry. The imbizo was part of promoting environmental sustainability and enhancing the country’s natural resources.
“Many families generate an income from waste recycling, minimising the environmental pollution and promoting a cleaner and greener environment through their efforts. This undervalued work improves the livelihood of these individuals and contributes to a cleaner and safer South Africa,” said the GCIS.
Another imbizo event that took place today was the visit to Cape Agulhas Municipality by the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, to provide update and feedback to the fishing community on the progress being made by the Department on Infrastructure Projects in the town as a whole.
On Friday, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, will be in Mopani at Hlohlokwe Community Hall as part of Frontline Service Delivery Programme and Community imbizo.
As part of this visit, the Minister will conduct unannounced Front Line Service Delivery Monitoring (FSDM) and community imbizo to solicit inputs on how to enhance service delivery at the coalface of the public service.
As part of government plans to revitalise distressed mining communities and build sustainable mining towns, the Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu will visit the Free State province at the TVET College in Welkom on Friday.
While in the province, the Minister will launch a Centre for Entrepreneurship. This centre will aim to harness entrepreneurial innovation and unlock potential among the youth.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, will host an Imbizo in Soshanguve, Tshwane, to address the challenges faced by parents and grandparents regarding children and the usage of social media.
The objective of the imbizo is to give impetus on the 365 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children while raising awareness on the new HIV infection amongst adolescent girls and young women.
Imbizo with sugar cane farmworkers
On Sunday, Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, will host an imbizo with sugar cane farmworkers in Ndwedwe, KwaZulu-Natal.
Some of the issues that affect workers in this region are complaints from workers relating to unlawful deductions of wages; productivity based pay system (umjarho); non-payment of public holiday rates as well as inadequate protective clothing.
The imbizo is aimed at educating the farmworkers about the rights accorded to them by various pieces of labour legislation such as the labour relations act, basic conditions of employment act and the employment equity act among others.
The Department of Home Affairs will also be represented in this farmworkers’ imbizo owing to the many workers that are foreign nationals working in this area.
National Focus Week
“These events are but a few of the exciting visits during the National Focus Week that provide opportunities for citizens to interact with their elected public representatives.
Government will also use the Focus Week as a platform to profile the local government achievements particularly through the Back-to-Basics approach adopted in 2014, as well as to promote a multi-sectoral collaboration between all sections of society and effective leadership by government on matters affecting the country and its people.
“Government remains committed to have constructive dialogues with citizens. Community members are encouraged to take part in these izimbizo and participate in dialogues and engagements,” said Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
The Imbizo Focus Week will conclude on Sunday.