DPSA IN THE MEDIA: Deputy Minister says community work is a cornerstone of democracy

Date: 30 Jan 2012

The value of Community Development Workers (CDWs) as agents in of public service delivery to all South Africans in even the remotest of areas is immeasurable if rendered correctly.

This was the clear message Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo left after a two-day public participation visit of Modimolle in Limpopo on Monday and Tuesday this week.

The two-pronged visit, which will be extended to other provinces, was aimed at assessing the impact that the CDWs are having on communities, as well as to raise awareness and speed up service delivery that the Government rolls out through CDWs.

The Deputy Minister first emphasized this importance during an empowerment workshop of CDWs where she and her entourage of senior DPSA officials as well as stakeholders from the Limpopo province met to interact on how public service delivery can be improved and accelerated. CDWs are a special category of public servants introduced to engage with citizens and determine what services are needed, and duly facilitate easy access to such services without communities having to travel long distances.

As the Deputy Minister in her portfolio, Ms Dlodlo is the political champion and executive member of CDWs, responsible for all CDW activity. Addressing the open discussions, the Deputy Minister described the CDWs as a vital link between Government and the communities they serve.

"If CDWs are not fully empowered and have limited knowledge of what their communities need, or what the meaning and impact of various laws is to their communities, or if they cannot explain satisfactorily why some services cannot be delivered at a given time, then the process of public service delivery as envisaged by Government will always suffer. Access to all government services is the cornerstone of democracy. Let us create a culture of consciousness within ourselves to be able to better serve our communities," she added.

On the second day of her mission, the Deputy Minister embarked on random visits of the local public hospital where she scrutinized the quality of service, interacted with patients, employees and officials of the institution with a view to understand their day-to-day challenges. She then folded her campaign with visits to homes of the poor where, on hearing about their various challenges, including lack of proper housing and education opportunities, facilitated advice and assistance.

The Western Cape is scheduled as the Deputy Minister's next destination in due course.

Zingisile Mapazi

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