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South Africa: Thusong Centres Bring Government Closer to Communities
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Oct 28, 2014

The week is designed to highlight the service delivery successes achieved through Thusong Centres.

Minister Muthambi said Thusong Centres help people to save money, as they do not have to go to the cities to access government services.

Minister Muthambi said the centres provide access to government services such as applications for ID documents, birth certificates, social grants and key municipal services provided by government departments.

“These centres are also key communication hubs, offering full information and communications technology connectivity.

“Much needed education and training development initiatives are also implemented at these centres to uplift local communities and to equip residents with the essential skills needed to secure employment,” she said.

The centres are one-stop hubs, which provide integrated services and information from government and other civil society groups to communities close to where they live. This is part of a comprehensive strategy to better the lives of all South Africans.

Listening to communities

The Minister took time to interact with community members at Botshabelo taxi rank, Home Affairs offices and the Department of Labour offices.

“I spoke to a taxi driver, and I asked him what his feeling was about government. He said South Africa is the best place to live in. We are safe and we are free,” she said.

“I started at the Department of Labour. I interacted with the people and they are excited about the services they are getting. We were told that queues move fast [at the department]. This is what we expect and like,” Minister Muthambi said.

She encouraged all public servants to serve the people of South Africa with pride.

Minister Muthambi said some people were not aware of the services that government offers.

“I think we need to improve our level of communication. We need a massive education drive that will tell people about the services of government.”

The Minister also spoke to a 19-year-old man, who sells vegetables.

“I asked him whether he doesn’t aspire to become a businessman. He is not aware of the opportunities.

“The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has opportunities. It has partners with a lot of government financial institutions that support young people,” she said.

Botshabelo resident Smanga Qhwesha, 45, said he was satisfied with service delivery in his area.

“I am happy about the mobile clinics because they bring the clinic to the people,” Qhwesha said.

He said when he goes to the clinic, he does not have to wait the whole day to get help.

“The police department is spot on. They attend to cases when we report them,” Qhwesha said.

Simon Thengeni, 53, said he was happy with the services he receives from government.

Thengeni said he was pleased that government was providing the community with decent healthcare services and staff at the clinic is friendly.

His prime concern, however, remains finding a job.
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