Address by Deputy Minister, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala at the Annual Thusong Service Centre Closing Week in Port Danford Thusong Service Centre, Friday 22 September 2017
Inkosi Yesizwe Inkosi Mkhwanazi;
MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube;
His Worship The Mayor of Umhlathuze Municipality Councillor Mhlongo;
Honourable Mayor Councillor Mkulisi;
Speaker of Council Councillor Mdladla; and
All Ward Councillors present here today
All Distinguished Guests in particular the members of the community
I am deeply honoured during this Public Service Month to be of service to the people of this community. Our government has dedicated centres like these to be of service to all citizens of this great Republic. The word Thusong is a Sotho word which means a place of help or service. As elected officials and representatives it is our primary responsibility to ensure that every member of the community is duly assisted by the democratic government, to live a better life.
A better life for you means having access to job opportunities, living in homes which are not headed by single parents; ending teenage pregnancy and tackling the use of drugs by our children. I know for a fact that shebeens and taverns have become the centre of our social lives and as such we see high levels of sexual violence and child abuse.
We can only succeed against these social ills if we take collective action as a community. If we subscribe to the proverb, love your neighbour as you love thy self, we can protect one another, we can form functional and vibrant community forums, in essence we can be a true testament of active citizenship.
Earlier today, I had the opportunity of interacting with one of your local community radio stations Icora FM, one of the crucial things I highlighted was the importance of having a strong ability to communicate the issues of our people through radio. Through community radio not only do you speak the language of our people, but you also raise the consciousness of that community. That is what an effective community radio station creates, a platform for the citizens to collectively speak about their problems but also hold your local police, councillor or magistrate accountable.
“If someone who has committed a crime and we all know him, community radio should be interviewing the station commander and asking him or her to account to the people through community media platforms.”
Community radio also has the responsibility to deepen democracy, the advertisements of IDP and Community meetings, my Mayor , should be done primarily through community radio stations. Centres like these should be used to garner ideas about this community’s future.
MEC, we need to win the trust of our people not through promises but through action. In simple terms when we come to our communities we should be coming to report on what we have done more than what we we say we’ll do.
Let us join hands and move South Africa forward.
Government, business, labour and civil society need to work together to create the country OR Tambo envisaged. All South Africans have to play an active role in their communities in improving people’s lives and making sure their elected leaders deliver.
At this particular centre we have seen what makes Thusong centres particularly helpful. This centre has been used by local entrepreneurs to advance small medium and micro enterprises. Through enterprises like Masiphephe driving school member’s community are taught how drive, and our community is safer with business like Cyhle Security Solutions.
This centre is at heart of address early childhood development by enrolling more than 50 children. The Department of Health provide health services by dispensing critical medication for free at least twice a week.
Having been here today with you with, I have no doubt that this centre can be used to greater effect especially by young people. Entrepreneurship is the future, it is the door way to Radical Economic Transformation, and Thusong centres like this one, can provide a great platform and means for young people to address the challenges of society in an innovative way.
I would like to close by quoting our great stalwart and the longest serving President of the African National Congress as we celebrate his legacy, Isithwalandwe OR Tambo when said [and I quote]
“The objective of our struggle in South Africa, as set out in the Freedom Charter, encompasses economic emancipation. It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation. It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy; and our drive towards national emancipation must include economic emancipation.”
I thank you