Bid to foster government- community ties
EASTERN CAPE premier Phumulo Masualle officially launched 17 war rooms in Matyantya village near Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) last week.
The campaign is part of the broader roll-out of Operation Masiphathisane across the province after its launch in May last year.
Masualle told hundreds of people from different parts of the Chris Hani region that the initiative was aimed at fostering ties between the government and communities.
“A few days ago, we were discussing the plans we have for this year and the state of the province and how we need to work to ensure success in our areas. When this is complete, the people for whom this is intended will benefit.”
In total, the Chris Hani district is set to have more than 70 war rooms, which are ward-based structures aimed at dealing with all social ills while waging war against poverty, unemployment, corruption and underdevelopment.
Stakeholders involved will endeavour to bring together communities and government departments from all spheres of governance to plan, monitor and evaluate service delivery programmes at municipal ward level.
“We have identified some of the challenges, such as poverty in communities and also unemployment, especially among the youth. The gap between the rich and poor is getting wider, so we must do all we can to make sure that our programmes find solutions to these problems.
“We wish to see all municipalities and officials working for the people and the war rooms fully functional.”
He urged community members to be actively involved in the programme. “This will be successful if we all work. We do not need people who are doing nothing except criticising and judging. We want results.”
The launch was cautiously welcomed by villagers, who said they hoped it would not just be yet another government programme that would fail to live up to promises.
Garneir Mgxidi of Engcobo said officials would need to follow up on the progress of the war rooms.
“They must not just talk without action. It would be better if they regularly check on us to see how we are doing.”
Smawude Siwe of Holani Village said: “It looks good when they are talking about it. I hope they remain honest and it will not be like other failed projects. This must benefit our children, who are unemployed.”
Mafilika said he was positive about the launch. “We see government is trying to get closer to the people. Hopefully, this will also make councillors ensure there is a higher level of service delivery.”