Media release

Government commits to improve lives of disabled

13 April 2008

13 April 2008

Minister in the Office of the Presidency Essop Pahad has reiterated government's commitment to improving the living conditions of the disabled.

Speaking in Jane Furse, Limpopo during an Imbizo held as part of the government's Imbizo Week programme, he said government was doing all possible to meet its 2010 deadline of employing a minimum of two percent public servants with disabilities.

Minister Pahad was responding to a question raised during the imbizo about unfair treatment and less opportunities for the disabled in the workforce. "It is the policy of this government that by 2010 we have within the public service at least two percent of our total staff being those with disabilities. This is a commitment we are working hard to achieve," he said.

Other issues raised during the imbizo were lack of water supply in the area, contractors who get paid before finishing projects and proper road infrastructure. "Indeed it is correct that we cannot continue to pay contractors before we can have their work evaluated after completion, so that we don't have houses falling down after six months," he said.

The imbizo week held under the theme Imbizo! 'All hands on deck for faster development' saw government leaders engaging with communities across the country to find solutions to problems raised.

Imbizo is a government programme introduced in 2000 to encourage dialogue and direct interaction between communities, the President, National Ministers, Premiers, Provincial MECs, Mayors and local Councillors.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Thabo Mbeki called for a new way of doing things to accelerate service delivery. In line with the President's call, events held during this April imbizo were mainly about the delivery of services and giving feedback to communities on progress made by government in addressing matters raised in the previous imbizo events.

During the imbizo week more than 157 events championed by Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs were held in all nine (nine) provinces. Recognising the fact that South Africa is faced with a challenge of electricity shortage, the issue of energy saving took centre stage in all the events.

Participating Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs engaged with community members on ways of saving electricity by distributing energy saving light bulbs and leaflets with energy saving tips.

Key highlights of this April imbizo include:

  • The delivery of broadcasting services to the community of Prince Albert Local Municipality, in the Western Cape by Minister of Communications Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri in partnership with Sentech and SABC
  • The distribution of IDs, birth certificates and other services offered by the department of Home Affairs by both Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Free State
  • The commitment made by Ministers of Water Affairs and Minerals and Energy to the community of Donnybrook in KwaZulu-Natal to avail funds to ensure that the community has access to clean water and their houses have electricity.

Pheliswa Sebati
Cell: 082 413 4609

Bongani Mlangeni
Cell: 078 402 1016

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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