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Scores of Johannesburg residents in Region C on Monday attended a community outreach gathering in the Roodepoort central business district, where officials of the City and of municipal-owned entities and government departments brought them up to speed with various issues related to service delivery.

These regular people-centred gatherings also give residents the opportunity to raise their service delivery concerns or challenges so officials could promptly act on them.

“Our aim is to work with the community. We believe we can resolve many issues of concern by showing the community that we care,” said Regional Director Mlamleli Belot.

The programme is to forestall problems or failures that might arise. Our primary focus is water and sanitation, lights and electricity, health and public safety, roads and also waste and environmental planning. Where a service problem is identified, a team gets to work immediately.

“We don’t wait until we go back to the office to send a team to attend to a problem. We do it there and there,” said Belot.

The Department of Home Affairs has become a permanent feature at these community outreach meetings.

According to Mduduzi Tshwala, a representative of the department, this ensures that where IDs have been identified as a problem, “we get to sort it out there and there”.

In its bid to provide optimum value to the community outreach programme, the region has also partnered with banking group Absa to advise residents on City-related financial matters.

“We want to assist people to manage their finances better,” said the bank’s External Consultant Desire Daniels.

“This is, for us, a great opportunity. We are here to advise people and give answers to those frequently asked questions, most of which are about managing one’s account and about debt management,” says Daniels.