There are no 'for­got­ten cor­ners' in SA

Vuk'uzenzele - - From The Union Buildings -

Kwa Zulu-Na­tal’s UMKHANYAKUDE District is a beau­ti­ful and re­mote cor­ner of our coun­try where South Africans, Mozam­bi­cans and Swati peo­ple live and work side by side in agri­cul­ture, mining, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices in places such as Sikhamelele, Man­guzi and Mbazwana.

Sadly, large num­bers of South Africans and for­eign vis­i­tors of­ten speed past or around these ar­eas close to our bor­der with Mozam­bique en route to en­joy­ing the ad­ven­ture and tran­quil­ity on of­fer in nearby world-class tourism at­trac­tions.

In­deed, many vis­i­tors en­ter­ing this re­gion do so with deep con­cern for, or an­tic­i­pa­tion of, the nat­u­ral as­sets in the area, in­clud­ing forests, wildlife, wa­ter­ways and the coast­line along Kosi Bay.

Few pause to pon­der the liv­ing con­di­tions of the close to 40 000 house­holds in the area, where 54 per cent of house­holds are headed by women and where 41 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion are chil­dren un­der the age of 15.

On 27 April 2017 gov­ern­ment fo­cused the na­tion’s gaze on Man­guzi (for­merly Kosi Bay town) by host­ing our na­tional cel­e­bra­tion of Free­dom Day in Man­guzi.We ded­i­cated our 23rd Free­dom Day to our great pa­triot, Oliver Regi­nald Tambo, un­der the theme “The Year of Oliver Regi­nald Tambo, To­gether Deep­en­ing Democ­racy and Build­ing Safer and CRIMEFREE com­mu­ni­ties”.

We want to see an end to vi­cious at­tacks on women and chil­dren, the house break-ins, cash-in-tran­sit heists, car hi­jack­ings, stock theft and other crimes that make life dif­fi­cult for our peo­ple in many com­mu­ni­ties.

Gov­ern­ment chose Man­guzi as the stage for our na­tional day af­ter I paid a Pres­i­den­tial Siyahlola Mon­i­tor­ing visit to the area, specif­i­cally be­cause of the ag­gres­sive cross-bor­der crime which has in­cluded car hi­jack­ings and theft, with ve­hi­cles be­ing taken to Mozam­bique across the bor­der.

In the im­bizo with the com­mu­nity, res­i­dents out­lined var­i­ous chal­lenges they faced and I as­signed sev­eral de­part­ments to work on the is­sues that had been raised by the com­mu­nity, as part of the free­dom cit­i­zens en­joy to talk di­rectly with gov­ern­ment.

When I vis­ited Man­guzi po­lice sta­tion I found it di­lap­i­dated, with in­ad­e­quate per­son­nel and re­sources to han­dle the mat­ters at hand. I found the same sit­u­a­tion in Nyanga in Cape Town in Fe­bru­ary and also in Soshanguve in Gaut­eng which means we need to im­prove ca­pac­ity in po­lice sta­tions serv­ing black com­mu­ni­ties.

As a gov­ern­ment that cares, lis­tens and acts, we have set aside R92 mil­lion for the ren­o­va­tions of the Man­guzi po­lice sta­tion. Al­ready, paint­ing and other mi­nor re­fur­bish­ments are be­ing un­der­taken so that the po­lice can work in a more con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment.

The KWAZULU-NA­TAL pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has sup­plied the po­lice sta­tion with ve­hi­cles to en­able faster re­sponses when crimes are be­ing com­mit­ted.

The po­lice sta­tion has also been up­graded to a level of a Colonel and mea­sures have be­gun to fill 44 va­cant posts.

The South African Na­tional De­fence Force and SAPS on the bor­der have be­gun to work to­gether on ef­forts to de­feat cross-bor­der crime, as it was clear that there was lit­tle col­lab­o­ra­tion and crim­i­nals were tak­ing ad­van­tage of a lack of co­or­di­na­tion.

The SANDF has in­creased the de­ploy­ments along the bor­der with Mozam­bique here and the law en­force­ment agen­cies will con­tinue to do their best to pre­vent the cross-bor­der car thefts with the sup­port of the com­mu­nity.

With­out the sup­port of the res­i­dents, though, very lit­tle progress will be made, and so gov­ern­ment in­vites the Man­guzi com­mu­nity – like we in­vite all South Africans – to work closely with our law-en­force­ment agen­cies.

The progress we are see­ing in mak­ing Man­guzi and sur­round­ing ar­eas safer and to avoid ten­sions be­tween South Africans and Mozam­bi­can na­tion­als shows that in South Africa, there are no “for­got­ten cor­ners” or places where we aren’t im­prov­ing liv­ing con­di­tions daily.

Ru­ral de­vel­op­ment and safer com­mu­ni­ties are among the key pri­or­i­ties pur­sued by gov­ern­ment un­der our Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan. It has been our mis­sion since the dawn of democ­racy 23 years ago that the foot­print of de­vel­op­ment must be seen and felt in all parts of our coun­try.

Man­guzi – and many places like it in all nine prov­inces – has be­come and will re­main a part of this de­vel­op­ment foot­print, as gov­ern­ment works with com­mu­ni­ties and civil so­ci­ety to move South Africa for­ward.

It is de­vel­op­ment of this kind that gives true mean­ing to the free­dom we at­tained 23 years ago.

"It has been our mis­sion since the dawn of democ­racy 23 years ago that the foot­print of de­vel­op­ment must be seen and felt in all parts of our

coun­try."

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