An active citizenry

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THE Rep this week launched the “Service First” series which we anticipate will be a regular feature of the newspaper.
The aim of the series is simple. We hope to raise awareness of service delivery challenges facing communities within The Rep’s area of circulation and, with the assistance of the Enoch Mgijima Municipality and Chris Hani District Municipality, to try to find some ways to improve and possibly even address concerns.
Over the past few weeks, The Rep has been inundated with worried people contacting the newspaper to ask what can be done in the wake of continuous power outages, cuts in the water supply (outside the hours of restrictions), ongoing illegal dumping, dark streets with not a light working for blocks…the list goes on. Concern exists over challenges in all areas – from Ilinge to Whittlesea to Ezibeleni to Sandringham.
The precarious financial position of the Enoch Mgijima Municipality, as reported upon last week (“In dire straits” February 3), has added to the concerns of locals, and rightfully so. The municipality’s lack of finances to meet the demands of the budget does not bode well for service delivery in the area. Input is critical, therefore the invitation of The Rep for people to speak about service delivery issues. What is even more important is that positive interaction and engagement in addressing the situation, takes centre stage.
An active citizenry is imperative in ensuring accountability and development. An active citizenry does not mean vandalising or damaging property, disrupting the lives of others or putting people at risk. It denotes a unified approach of logical thinking and a commitment to act in the best interests of the cause.
In the words of the late John F. Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Communication is going to be key in the next few months as the municipality speaks to residents. In addition, the responsibility of engaging with stakeholders in ensuring that the threatening crisis affecting service delivery is averted, will have to be realised.
This is where we live. This is where we make a living and so, just like the municipality, we have a vested interest in making this area work. Complaints have their place in bringing about change but so does becoming involved in finding positive and long-lasting solutions.

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