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Scores of South Hills residents in Joburg’s Region F were given a platform to “open up” and raise critical municipal-related issues affecting their daily lives when the City held an integrated Open Day session in Steeledale, southern Johannesburg, on Wednesday November 26.
A total of 15 City officials representing various municipal entities (MEs) and departments – including Johannesburg Water, Social Benefits Unit, Department of Health and Social Development and the Department of Environmental Health – were on hand to answer questions or act on the issues raised by the residents.

“The City’s Open Days bring local government to the people,” said Irene Mafume, Regional Director for Region F.

“It offers us a platform to communicate with our stakeholders. Residents need to know their ward councillors and the flyers we distributed today had the ward councillors’ numbers and MEs so people know who to call in times of need.”

Departments and MEs also used the opportunity to provide residents with assistance on various issues.

The Department of Health and Social Development educated residents on lifestyle diseases and conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure.

One of the displays that captivated the residents was an exhibition of rodents by Environmental Health officials.

Residents were showed several ways of keeping their yards rodents-free.

City social worker Vasagie Govender was deeply touched after a 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil related her harrowing tale of abuse – a day after the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

“The girl has been through a lot. She told me she was removed from her mother when she was two years old because the mother abused drugs. She said she lived in five foster care homes and quit taking drugs herself when her step brother died from a drug overdose.

After going to rehab, she is clean and wants to become a social worker because she wants to help other children who have gone through similar traumatic experiences.

“She is a role model for her community, which is battling drug and alcohol abuse. She’s been through difficult times but that has made her stronger,” said Govender.

Pensioner Suzanne Wilson welcomed the Open Day and said she now knew who her ward councillor was.

“It’s a good thing they came so that we know where to go when we need help,” said Wilson.