North West residents lay bare their issues
Ramaphosa vows to fix delivery mess
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who launched his post-sona presidential imbizo in Mahikeng, North West, was widely welcomed by locals, who, however, did not mince their words in calling for the removal of incompetent and corrupt officials from the municipalities.
Ramaphosa said his visit was to engage with communities across the country to address basic challenges through the District Development Model (DDM).
“We are here under the umbrella of DDM to address all challenges. So far, 39 people raised their voices and those who did not manage to do so, I’ll ask them to write them down. This is a caring government and many people spoke about inaccessible roads saying they look like swimming pools.
“We often talk about the capacity of the state and that needs to be strengthened. There are some areas that need to be capacitated and we need to employ individuals who are capable of performing their duties diligently,” he said.
Ramaphosa further said another problem is money allocated to provinces, but ends up not being used. The funds then have to be returned to the national treasury as a result.
He said he will ensure that this issue is addressed “once and for all”.
Mahikeng resident Modise Marumoagae urged Ramaphosa to ensure that administrators are removed from municipalities. Marumoagae alleged that those administrators are only there to loot, while the people are suffering.
Another resident, Simon Otukile from Majemantsho village in Mahikeng, shared the same sentiments. He said residents are in need of a community hall and also lamented the state of the roads, saying they are inaccessible and this is affecting their livelihoods.
“There is also a lack of clean
Mahikeng does not look like a capital city, it is a ghost town
and drinkable water. We would also like you to address unemployment, especially among the youth. There are companies from various provinces like Limpopo, Free State and Gauteng getting tenders in our area, while we are treated like bystanders. We have required skills, so we would like to be considered,” Otukile said.
“Also, Mahikeng does not look like a capital city, but a ghost town. There is another challenge, where we see the former homeland of Bophuthatswana’s properties being sold,” he said.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele said issues raised such as police behaviour, drugs abuse and gender-based violence (GBV) are serious and his department is taking steps against police who do not assist the victims when reporting those cases.
“Police are not supposed to tell victims to go back and negotiate with the perpetrators. Their job is to arrest. We have trained 900 police officers who will deal with the GBV issues. We expect them to respond with a better understanding,” Cele said.
“We will be training 442 new police officers in the North West. Another issue was that police are not kind towards disabled people. Fortunately, the North West Provincial Commissioner, Gen Sello Kwena, and the North West MEC for community safety and transport management, Sello Lehari are here. We will come back to the province in three weeks to deal with all these issues raised. I must say that it is unfortunate that Mahikeng police station appears in the top 30 of the most criminal police stations,” he said.
Not to be outdone, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said: “Our people spoke about potholes and I must say they have been eroded because of torrential rains, especially in Mahikeng and Ditsobotla. We work together with provinces and Sanral to address those national roads.
“We have R86-million that was allocated to the province to fix roads, but it was not used and that money was returned. Actually, Sanral has taken back some roads and we are currently fixing the Z482 road that links Madibogo village and Madibogopan.”
Mbalula also said the Mahikeng Airport will be returned to the community of Mahikeng.