Motlanthe assesses antipoverty interventions

By Mandla Khoza

Malalane - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has promised the poverty-stricken residents of Ntunda village in Mpumalanga's Nkomazi area that their development needs will be prioritised and that he will be back to personally assess the progress that has taken place.

Motlanthe was speaking during a War on Poverty campaign meeting with the community on Saturday, during which he visited several poor households and also launched the Ntunda Water Purification Plant.

He was accompanied by Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti, Minister of Social Development Edna Molewa and Minister of Water and Environment Buyelwa Sonjica and several MECs.

Motlanthe heard from the community, which comprises about 5 000 people, that there was no clinic, high unemployment, little skills development and a lack of access to information about government development initiatives.

Members of the delegation visited 39 households in the village - which has never had running tap water since it was established about 50 years ago - and promised each family an RDP house.

As they visited each house and problems were identified, Motlanthe ensured that each one was directed to the relevant MEC.

Later, while addressing the community he said: "The progress in water supply and the clinic that we promised to build are going to be evaluated in January. I myself will come back to see if the promises have been kept."
Motlanthe said he was impressed by the way the villagers were trying to better their lives, but that they needed the government's help, be it on national, provincial or local level.

"In most of the households we visited, we saw one specific talent which needs to be enhanced by the government and its parastatals. For example, many of the men here are able brick makers, so the municipality must help them in starting a brick-making project that can benefit the whole community."

He also tasked the provincial government with ensuring that young people got the opportunity to visit the Mlumati campus of the Ehlanzeni FET College so that they could learn about skills development courses and bursaries available to further their studies.

Motlanthe promised the village's small-scale farmers that the government would investigate the lack of water supply for their sugarcane fields and said it would also provide much-needed technical support.

According to Zakhele Zitha, who works for Thembalethu Home-based Care Centre in nearby Schoemansdal and also volunteers at the only such centre in Ntunda, HIV and Aids and teenage pregnancies are rife in the village.

"We don't have a clinic, which is why the Ntunda Home-based Care Centre is always overcrowded. People are very sick here and many of them die without knowing that they had Aids," said Zitha. - BuaNews