History will be made in Tombo, near Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, when the first one-stop government service centre is launched on Thursday, 9 December 1999.
The intersectoral initiative, supported by President Thabo Mbeki, will bring integrated services of the government to the Kei District where communities need them most.
The Eastern Cape is one of three provinces earmarked by the government as a priority region for an integrated service delivery through one-stop service centres. The others are Northern Province and KwaZulu-Natal.
These centres will serve rural communities who have suffered the burden of being transferred from one place to another, often at great distances, trying to access government services and information.
At Tombo, the site will comprise a number of services or they will be close to each other, allowing easy access. In other cases, there will be a balance between services permanently located there, and those government services which will be offered at planned times.
This is the first of fifty five centres where the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) plans to maintain a point of presence so that government information is accessible to all communities.
Research already has been conducted on public information needs, and an attempt is being made to build partnerships with communities to be served by ensuring that one stop government centres are located in, or established along with Multi-Purpose Community Centres (MPCCs).
Almost 2 000 people from the local rural communities will attend the Tombo launch with dignitaries from national, provincial and local government present. Officials from several service providers also will be attending.
Some of the roles that the MPCC will be playing:
- Identifying community information needs: allowing a response to these needs by relevant government agencies in partnership with the community and other non-government groups.
- Build capacity: at the local level by involving and training local leaders in the identification of and response to development information needs.
- Network: between local level structures and institutions. This creates an opportunity for partnerships between the public and private sectors to have a common place from where they can share information costs and activities for improving the lives of individuals and communities.
- Provide a "Government with a Human Face": the MPCC can be seen as a platform for government representatives of all spheres of government to interact with communities and to respond to community concerns in face-to-face discussions.
- Integrate services on offer: provide a mix of information needs and services of interest to each community. This aims to avoid duplication and save costs.
- Access Universal Service: in the areas of telecommunications and postal services. A MPCC can provide cost-effective technology needs of communities in a technologically relevant manner.
- Act as an institutional home: for the promotion and support of community media (print, electronic and traditional) that will serve communities in their preferred languages and at opportune times. This will also allow a home and venue for certain community groups such as youth and women’s groups.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)