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Western Cape embarks on Izimbizo

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 02 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Western Cape residents will have the opportunity to interact with senior officials provincial government officials during the Imbizo Focus Week.

Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, together with local government and civil society formations, will host a series of meetings to give citizens an opportunity to make their voices heard and for government to assess whether its programmes are effective

Scheduled to start next week Monday, the Imbizo week has been widely acknowledged as an effective forum for enhancing dialogue and interaction between government and the people.

It provides an opportunity for government to communicate its Programme of Action and the progress being made.

The Imbizo also promotes participation of the public in the programmes.

Mr Rasool said the Western Cape government was mindful of the challenges the people of the province face with regards to violence, crime, housing backlogs, poverty, unemployment and drug abuse.

"But we are also proud of the huge progress we have made," he said, adding that by the end of 2007 economic growth stood at 5.7 percent and thousands of jobs have been created through government's Expanded Public Works Programmes.

"At least 91 percent of the people in the province now receive free basic water, close to 100 percent of pensioners receive their pensions and more than 10 000 hectares of land are now in the hands of emerging farmers."

Last year, he said the housing budget was more than doubled from R540 million to R1.2 billion to lay the basis to deal with the 410 000 unit backlog.

"There have also been major advances in the areas of health care, construction, preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the eradication of the bucket toilet system and opportunities for previously marginalised businesses," Mr Rasool said.

In education, the premier boasted that the parents of 345 000 or 45 percent of learners in 653 Western Cape schools do not have to pay fees and 200 000 learners at 988 schools receive daily meals.

Child Support Grants are now going to 446 000 children and 141 000 disables people are receiving grants.

With regards to high risk schools, he noted that full security upgrades and 730 volunteers are deployed at Metrorail stations.

In the fight against crime Mr Rasool said police resources have been increased while violent crime has been on a gradual downward dip.

He said the police have shut down 61 tik and drug houses and 8 000 police and 5 000 Bambanani volunteers are now part of the crime-busting team.

The province has 14 Thusong Service Centres and numerous offices where grants and pensions are processed.

"We are determined to consolidate these advances while systematically tackling the serious challenges we still face.

"I urge the citizens of the province to make their voices heard at the Imbizos so that together we can make the Western Cape a home for all."

Some of the places to be visited include the Brooklyn Chest Hospital, Good Hope Centre, the KwaNongqaba Sports Complex and the Weston Secondary School among others. - BuaNews

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System

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