6 December 2015
Deputy Minister Of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams address at the National Imbizo Focus Week closing event at Ward 5, Marhambeni Village, Mthatha in the Eastern Cape
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Imbizo Focus Week is a government-wide initiative that promotes direct and interactive engagements between government and the people. It is premised on two-way communication that promotes active participation by all sectors of society in government’s key programmes.
Under the leadership of the Department of Communications and counsel of the Governance and Administration Cabinet Committee, Cabinet approved that the second National Imbizo Focus Week be held from 30 November to 06 December 2015.
The Imbizo Focus Week is guided by the Cabinet-approved National Communication Strategic Framework’s five-year theme: “Together we move South Africa forward”. This is a rallying theme promoting partnership and galvanising active citizenry. It is a platform to provide feedback to communities and stakeholders on progress made in implementing the Programme of Action of Government.
During this week, government and communities spoke openly about how best to implement the Nine Point Plan which aims to further ignite economic growth and create jobs.
President Jacob Zuma unveiled the Nine Point Plan during his 2015 State of the Nation Address. One of the key pillars of this plan is the economic empowerment of women and the youth whose participation in our economy is critical if we are to achieve real and inclusive economic development and growth.
While government acknowledges that times are tough economically we remain confident that we are on track to faster economic growth and job creation.
Already we see a significantly improvement in our electricity supply and we have invested billions into infrastructure development.
We are fast-tracking the implementation of five key job drivers which are as follows:
- Revitalising the agriculture and agro-processing value chain;
- Adding value to our mineral wealth (advancing beneficiation and support to the engineering and metals value chain;
- More effective implementation of IPAP
- Unlocking SMME’s, cooperatives and township enterprise potential;
- Oceans Economy (including Tourism)
Government is doing all it can to draw in more investors so that it can grow employment, reduce poverty and turn the economy around. South Africa has become an investment destination of choice to the world’s biggest companies.
We have just hosted the China State visit that saw the signing of 26 cooperation agreements worth R94 billion and this was complemented by South Africa hosting the FORUM ON CHINA-AFRICA COOPERATION (FOCAC).
As I round up the National Imbizo Focus Week together with my colleagues allow me to share with you some of the highlights of the events undertaken by members of the Executive from across the three spheres of government.
The Minister of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi led the opening event of the Imbizo Focus week at Ga Seleka, Lephalale in Limpopo province on Monday, 30th November 2015.
The Minister was accompanied by Waterberg District Executive Mayor, Cllr Rosinah Mogotlane and the local Mayor of Lephalale Cllr Jack Maeko. She conducted a number of door to door visits in the area, and heard the concerns of community members on issues such as service delivery.
Following the visit government made undertaking to address the identified challenges. The Minister of Communications, the Mayor and Executive Mayor will visit the community again in three months to assess progress in addressing issues raised.
Minister Muthambi also visited the Enel green project at Tom Burke in Lephalale. The project is a solar plant which will add vital energy generation for local development in the area and forms part of the overall plan of government for a rich mix of energy sources to address current energy challenges the country faces. The project employs over 300 local residents.
The Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini held an information session with small-holder farmers in Winterveldt in Gauteng. The revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value chain has been identified as one of the critical areas in growing our economy.
The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, engaged the Humansdorp local fishing industry in the Eastern Cape on existing opportunities to fight poverty and create jobs.
All along the South African coastline, men, women and children have been living in coastal communities harvesting marine resource for consumption, livelihoods medicinal purposes, and as part of cultural and spiritual practices for thousands of years.
But due to the past laws and systems, many small-scale fishers in fishing communities have been severely marginalised. For the first time in South Africa, small-scale fishers will be recognised and this will contribute to much needed transformation in the fishing industry. The department has changed the law to provide for a legal framework to recognise small-scale fishers throughout the four coastal provinces.
The Minister of Telecommunication and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele visited some of the sites that are going to be connected to the internet in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality in the Free State as part of implementing Phase One of the rollout of broadband or fast, reliable, secure and affordable internet.
The Minister was accompanied by Free State Health MEC Benny Malakoane and the Executive Mayor of the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, Councillor Malefu Vilakazi and other councillors.
Government has undertaken to connect its offices across the country, starting in the rural areas, to ensure that South Africans have access to the most modern communications tools and services. We firmly believe that this will help to accelerate the socio-economic development across the nation.
I am also pleased to be able to share with you some exciting new developments in the tourism sector. The launch of a Donkey Tracking Route through the scenic Cederberg mountains in the Western Cape has brought jobs and hope for the remote Western Cape community.
The final phase of the Department of Tourism’s developmental project was opened by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom in Wupperthal this week. The department has established amenities that tie in with the hiking and outdoor lifestyle of tourists to the Cederberg.
Bridges and foot bridges were constructed to improve access for tourists, campsites and backpackers lodges have been developed to provide overnight accommodation, and shaded picnic sites with fencing and animal gates were built. Tourism signage has also been improved.
Tourists can book rides on traditional donkey carts owned by members of local communities along the route, which provide a unique, eco-friendly way of experiencing the mountainous terrain. Increased tourism activity along the route will be a major economic boost for the community of Wupperthal, where most families in the village and surrounding areas depend on small scale farming for a living.
As part of the National Imbizo Focus Week the Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu and North West MEC for Finance, Economy and Enterprise Development Ms Wendy Nelson, awarded certificates to informal traders and hand over a cheque to Mamusa Youth Environmental Project in Mamusa Local Municipality to enable the project to grow and thrive.
Certificates were also awarded to informal traders who received training on entrepreneurship through a partnership between the Department of Small Business Development, the provincial department and the Wholesale and Retail SETA.
The informal traders were trained in Introduction to entrepreneurship; Advertising and Promotion; Customer care and service; Basic financial management; Purchasing skills; Legal issues i.e. by-laws and compliance, among others.
The National Informal Business Upliftment Support was initiated to create a conducive environment for informal hawkers to participate in the mainstream economy.
The project aims to identify, train, mentor and provide infrastructure support to 1000 informal traders, including capacity building for Informal Trader Organizations in all nine Provinces over 18 months in partnership with relevant stakeholders.
That was just a small taste of the many events that happened this past week.
During the Imbizo Focus Week over 60 events were undertaken across the breadth and length of our majestic country led by various Political Principals to heighten communication on Government’s Programme of Action particularly the Nine Point Plan which is a blueprint for igniting economic growth and creating jobs.
We are a government of the people and remain committed to communicating with communities about developments in their areas. We therefore encourage the active involvement and participation of all South Africans. We have a collective responsibility to help grow South Africa and make our county a better place for all.
Your contribution in this regard is very important – every effort counts.
All South Africans must become involved in implementing the Nine Point Plan. The economy is everyone’s business and we all need to play our part to grow the economy. It is clear that both private sector investment and citizen engagement is critical to the successful implementation of the Nine Point Plan.
This National Imbizo Focus Week also coincided with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. Violence against women and children is a serious crime and must not be tolerated or excused in any way, form or shape.
Eliminating this scourge is not the responsibility of government or the criminal justice system alone. It is very much a societal responsibility.
All sectors of our society need to play a leading role in taking this campaign forward, not only for 16 days but for the 365 Days of the year.
I thank you
Issued by Ministry of Communications