The pre-Presidential Imbizo held at Kutlaonong township in the Free State wrapped up with solutions to improve service delivery and to unlock socio-economic development opportunities.

The government interaction with residents outside the mining town of Welkom was held on Wednesday ahead of the 11th Presidential Imbizo to be led by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.

The pre-Presidential Imbizo was led by Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake who was joined by Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ms Pinky Kekana, Free State Premier, Mr Mxolisi Dukwana, Human Settlements, and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Moses Makume.

The government leaders started the day with a site visit at Thuthuzela Care Centre which seek to improve the process of reporting and prosecution of rape and other sexual offences in a dignified and caring environment situated at Bongani Regional Hospital in Thabong township.

Clinical Forensic Nurse, Ms Mpho Matomela said: “We are catering for 18 townships, and we’ve got 3 clusters, Welkom Cluster. We are only three clinical forensic nurses, and we don’t work night shifts…due to staff shortage.

“We’ve social workers who provide counselling after the victims of gender based have been examined. We work with victims for a period of twelve months.

“We are very happy, and we feel so great [by the visits of government leaders], I have worked here for 15 years, but this is the first time we have a Deputy Ministers, MEC and the Premier. It is our view that our few challenges, will be resolved.”

Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) are one-stop facilities that have been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation and to build a case ready for successful prosecution.

Services offered at the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs)

  • Welcome and comfort from a site co-coordinator or nurse.
  • An explanation of how the medical examination will be conducted and what clothing might be taken for evidence.
  • A consent form to sign that allows the doctor to conduct the medical examination.
  • A nurse in the examination room.
  • After the medical examination, there are bath or shower facilities for victim use.
  • An investigation officer will interview the survivor and take his/her statement.
  • A social worker or nurse will offer counseling.
  • A nurse arranges for follow-up visits, treatment and medication for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and AIDS.
  • A referral letter or appointment will be made for long-term counseling.
  • The victim (survivor) is offered transportation home by an ambulance or the investigating officer.
  • Arrangements for the survivor to go to a place of safety, if necessary.
  • Consultations with a specialist prosecutor before the case go to court.
  • Court preparation by a victim assistant officer.
  • An explanation of the outcome and update of the trial process by a case manager.

During the community engagement session held at Kutlaonong High School, residents raised their concerns and their day-to-day challenges such as water shortage, sewage spillage, electricity blackout, cable theft, substance abuse including nyaope, high unemployment rate, unavailability of a mobile police station, potholes, empty promises by the local municipality, unfinished project, and nepotism to mention but a few.

Speaking to residents, Deputy Minister Dr Chana Pilane Majake said: “as a caring government, we are here to listen to your day-to-day challenges so that we can provide solutions with the view of improving your lives, service delivery as well as bringing development in your area.

“We are also here to engage with you as part of the build-up to the government’s interaction in the form of a District Development Model (DDM) Presidential Imbizo to be led by President Cyril Ramaphosa with communities and stakeholders in your Matjhabeng Local Municipality.

“The DDM is a service delivery-planning instrument to narrow the distance between citizens and government with the aim of delivering integrated services.

“The DDM is aimed at responding and addressing challenges by bringing all spheres of government closer to the people with the view to foster an integrated approach to governance.

“We want to make it clear that as government we fight nepotism by using the recruitment, selection, and appointment process when we employ people in the public service. In the public service space, we don’t employ people because of their political affiliation. Our recruitment processes are very transparent and fair,”

Premier Dukwana speech centred around values and ethical conduct. “If we want development in this township, it means, we need to refrain from illegal dumping, we need to take care of our own infrastructure.

“If Community Development Workers (CDW’s) can profile all households properly at this township, the issue of nepotism when there are job opportunities will be eliminated because only the poorest of the poor will be prioritised.

“We urge you to refrain from doing wrong things…don’t be corrupt. I am from this township, therefore, if I am corrupt, it means all of you are also corrupt. Let us make education fashionable through participating actively in all the school programmes of our children.

“Let people know us as a community that is against substance abuse, the community that looks after its own infrastructure, a community that is united and speaks in one voice against illegal dumping and against all forms of wrongdoing.

“As a provincial government, we are committed to improve service delivery in this area, unlock socio-economic opportunities, but this will only be possible if we work together.”

Presidential Imbizo
Under the theme “Leave No One Behind”, this week’s visit will allow the President and other leaders in government to assess progress made or to be briefed on challenges associated with the improvement of service delivery since the President’s previous engagement with communities.

The Matjhabeng municipal economy is mainly anchored on the mining of gold and uranium, and it is the hub of the Free State Goldfields.

The Presidential Imbizo will take place at the Kopano Indoor Sports Centre in Thabong, Welkom, within the Lejweleputswa District Municipality.