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Diepkloof residents speak out on IDP

 

The City of Johannesburg’s Integrated Development Planning (IDP) process – a public consultation and participation platform aimed at giving residents the opportunity to make inputs on how the City should work – got off to a great start at the weekend when residents packed the Diepkloof Welfare Centre in Soweto to the rafters to have their say.

The meeting was one of two that kick-started the public participation process, which will culminate in a stakeholder engagement session on April 25 at a venue still to be announced.
The other was held at the East Bank Hall in Alexandra. In total, 23 meetings will be held over the next few days, covering all the wards in all the City’s seven regions.

The meeting in Diepkloof on Saturday was addressed by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Councillor Chris Vondo, who gave an overview of the council’s service delivery performance during its current term of office, which ends next year.

“At the start of the term of this council in 2011, residents were consulted about their needs, which were incorporated into the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). We are approaching the end of that term. We must revisit what we were asked to provide and see how we have performed,” MMC Vondo said.

He also appealed to resident to make inputs in preparation for the 2015-2016 financial year. He said the call by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan to go back to basics meant that municipalities must interact with residents more often and inform them about government’s programmes.

“The lack of communication results in the public losing confidence and trust in the government,” MMC Vondo said.

The residents’ contributions were diverse and varied, with many acknowledging that some of the community’s concerns – including the tarring of roads and provision of street lighting – had largely been addressed, as was confirmed in MMC Vondo’s progress report.

Issues raised for attention at the meeting included the elimination of potholes, provision of road calming measures and sports facilities, abandoned classrooms now being used as drug dens and the building of more libraries.

“Our main concern, however, is unemployment, especially among the youth. This has the consequence of driving this group to experiment with drugs,” said Tolo Mohlamme, one of the residents who spoke at the meeting. We remain hopeful, however, that with the introduction of the Jozi@Work programme that things will get better. We need to get the youth off the streets and have them doing something.”

Mohlamme’s sentiments were indirectly acknowledged by MMC Vondo, who said in most cases the issue was not so much about “the non-delivery of services but about trust”.

Responding to complains that electricity in the area tripped all the time, MMC Vondo said notwithstanding the challenges facing power utility Eskom, residents themselves had to shoulder some of the blame.

“When a household is connected to the power grid, the connection is premised on a single family utilising that power. However, in most cases, people put up shacks or unplanned extra dwellings in the yard, which results with an overload,” he said.

The MMC said the transformation agenda of the government was about development and improving people’s lives. However, for this to be a success, the community had to work with government.
“The government alone cannot solve all the problems,” said MMC Vondo.

He said the R1 billion Jozi@Work empowerment programme was aimed at turning “work seekers into job creators”. He said he hoped that the community would make the programme a success.
All municipal-owned entities as well as departments had been advised to set aside 10% of their budgets for the programme.