The Politics of Poverty Reduction

Pretoria - Government has refuted allegations that visits by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to certain areas, in particular Tlokwe, are being targeted to receive food parcels ahead of the by-elections there.

"The department's programme objective is to create and provide social protection to the most vulnerable of society. This is delivered via provincial government and non-profit organisation structures," said acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams.

Williams explained that the minister is required through the Performance Agreement she signed with President Jacob Zuma, to undertake Imbizo's throughout the country. Dlamini has conducted around 80 Imbizo events across the country since 2011.

"There is nothing untoward with Tlokwe being one of the recipients of government services. The Imbizo at Tlokwe forms part of Project Mikondzo, which is a service delivery improvement initiative aimed at improving access to the department and its entities.

"These include the services rendered by the South African Social Security Agency and National Development Agency and are targeting the poorest wards of the country. These Imbizos, including the one held at Tlokwe, were planned a while back," she said.

The General Household Survey of 2010 identified that problems to access food were the most serious in the North West province, where 33 percent of households had inadequate or severely inadequate access to food.

Williams emphasised that the Imbizo initiative plays an important role as an interactive continuous style of governance.

"Dlamini is currently doing a follow-up in the Tlokwe area, as she promised during her last visit to the area. Handing out food parcels is in-line with attending to the concerns raised during the General Household Survey of 2010, and is a small initiative to assist in the alleviation of poverty in the area. The Imbizos create a platform for the Minister to engage directly with communities."

Government remains committed to promoting sustainable human development, and will continue to intensify the alleviation of poverty in the country's poorest communities.