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20 Years of Freedom and Democracy
Leadership engages with residents
​MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental
Affairs, Sihle Zikalala and Mayor Zandile Gumede were highly
impressed by the manner in which the Centralised Chronic
Medication Dispensing and Distribution Clinic is being run at
uMlazi’s Q-Section clinic. The visit was part of government’s
programme to assess the effectiveness of services rendered
to communities.
The uMlazi township, south of Durban, was a hive of activities when high-profile dignitaries, including members of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council and the City’s Executive Committee, visited war rooms to assess the impact of government programmes on 12 July.

The visit was also meant to ensure the participation of residents in the improvement and delivery of services to communities. Mayor Zandile Gumede called on residents to make use of war rooms, saying this was a platform for communities to raise their concerns so that they can be resolved. “Through Operation Sukuma Sakhe (which means stand up and build), we are bringing an integrated service by ensuring that government departments across all spheres participate in war rooms.”

Mayor Gumede started the day by visiting the Centralised Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution Clinic in uMlazi’s Q-Section while MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala who was representing Premier Willies Mchunu visited Maskey Health Services in Ward 85.

During the visit to the clinic, Mayor Gumede said challenges that had been raised were receiving attention. “The clinic will now be open seven days a week. People will no longer wait outside the clinic; security guards will open the gates so that they can wait inside the clinic’s premises.”

Addressing the community at Ward 89’s T-Section Community Hall, MEC Zikalala applauded the City for having active war rooms. “I visited Ward 85 before coming here and I saw that they had a soup kitchen. The Municipality has done a wonderful job with its soup kitchen programme.”

He also echoed Mayor Gumede’s sentiments: “This programme was designed to bring government closer to where people reside. We urge all sectors of society to be represented in war rooms,” he added. MEC Zikalala said if everybody participated in war rooms it would be easy to deal with the many challenges that communities face. “If there is crime, let’s build a link with Community Policing Forums and the police so that those who are found to be on the wrong side of the law are arrested and face the long arm of the law.” He said if war rooms were fully functional there would be no protests because ward councillors would be aware of the various challenges in their wards. MEC Zikalala added that Non-Government Organisations were pillars of war rooms and commended the role they played in helping government connect with people.

Mayor Gumede said the visit by the Provincial and Municipal leadership demonstrates that government cares for its people. “This was unheard of during the apartheid government. We are here to listen to your concerns and we do take them seriously.” She said all concerns raised, including those about housing, electricity and roads were going to be taken up by relevant departments. “We have all these departments with us today led by our City Manager and they are going to ensure that your concerns are attended to,” added Mayor Gumede.

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