Members of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet on Sunday descended on the rural town of Nongoma, in northern KZN, which is currently facing challenges ranging from water supply issues to political violence.
Led by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the provincial government, through its Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS) programme, visited a number of areas within the Nongoma Municipality, which will soon be renamed after the late Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
“Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS) is a unique platform that facilitates direct access by communities to government leadership, including senior officials who are at the coalface of service delivery, thus enabling unmediated interaction and bottom-up approach on a regular basis.
“The local municipality faces challenges of a shortage of water, taxi-related killings, revenge murders, unemployment, gender-based violence and femicide, and high rates of unemployment,” Dube-Ncube, said.
King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu and his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon, both lived in the rural town of Nongoma. However, despite its historical significance, the town remains one of the most underdeveloped in the KZN province.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) MEC Siboniso Duma, who was part of the team of the KZN provincial cabinet that visited the area on Sunday, said the visit was part of the provincial government’s plan to turn rural towns into economic hubs that are able to create jobs.
This forms part of government’s radical intervention to address issues raised by communities. We have an obligation to bridge the gap between the ANC government and the people of Nongoma.
“We want Hlalankosi [Nongoma] to be a tourism magnet to ensure job creation through heritage tourism. We are already directing resources and investment to ensure the development of this place, which occupies an important place in our history,” he said.
The Nongoma Municipality, which in the past was controlled by the IFP, is currently going through political turmoil as the IFP and ANC-led coalition engage in a battle for the control of the council.
Last week, The Witness reported that Mphathiseni Manqele, a councillor of the NFP, which is currently in a coalition with the ANC at the Nongoma Municipality, was in a serious condition in hospital after being shot in what is suspected to be an assassination attempt.
Manqele’s attack comes hot on the heels of the murder of another NFP Nongoma Municipality councillor, Ntombenhle Mchunu. KZN MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said the visit demonstrated that the ANC-led provincial government was committed to serving all the province’s citizens “irrespective of political affiliation”.
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KZN Treasury spokesperson Musa Cebisa said Nkonyeni, who interacted with Nongoma Municipality ward 19 residents, told the community about the importance of keeping the lines between them and the provincial government open.
“[She spoke about] the significance of having functional, well-resourced and active war rooms that operate in communities and linking up with various government departments in order to improve service delivery,” he said.
“She spoke with conviction about the need to always listen to communities and deliver useful services to communities irrespective of their political affiliation and their geographical location.”