The City of Bloemfontein hosted the Presidential District Development Model Presidential Imbizo. The visit was led by President Cyril Ramaphosa and saw a series of other interactive session as a build-up led by Deputy Ministers and Members of the FS Executive Council (MEC’s) a week before. This interactive session was a platform created by both the Provincial and National Government to listen to the various communities within the Free State Province. 09 April 2022 saw the main event of the DDM Presidential Imbizo taking shape at Dr. Molemela Stadium where about 2000 community members from within the Metro and the Regions voiced their concerns and frustration in true Imbizo fashion.
It was clear from the onset that, the members of the community were concerned and somewhat frustrated with the turn of events in their towns and especially in the Mangaung Metro.
The Programme Director of the day, Deputy Minister, Mahlobo, facilitated the question session very well and further gave the batton to President Ramaphosa to give guidance and way forward on concrete and sound solutions from the concerns and frustrations raised by community members.
The President acknowledged that, more work need to be done especially the basic service delivery issues. He further committed that the Ministers and the Deputies would frequent the Free State until the concerns raised by the people are attended. Those who could not make it to the Dr. Petrus Stadium shared their concerns on a dedicated WhatsApp platform and their messages were read and shared publicly. Nearly 3 000 participants posted their comments and questions on that platform.
This was the second post-State of the Nation Address Presidential Imbizo themed on the President’s SONA call to action, Leave No One Behind.
Also part of its objective, this Presidential Imbizo was to implement the District Development Model (DDM), which is premised on integrated planning among the three spheres of government and between government and civil society. As mentioned, all responsible Managers and appointed political office bearers like Cabinet members, DDM District Champions in the Free State and the provincial executive, Mayors and Councillors as well as senior government officials were present in this Imbizo to capture and note the community issues and to devise and find ways to act on them.
The Imbizo also featured an expo where residents could obtain information about government opportunities through which they can improve their lives. The expo also gave residents the chance to access services offered by the various Government Departments, like Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, South African National Defence Force (SANDAF) etc.
Ministers and their Deputies including Mayors and MEC’s were given a platform to commit themselves through the portfolios they lead, to work and plan better with the members of the community and that they will primarily address the concerns raised by the people at the imbizo.
“We are honoured that you have heeded our call to become part of the solution. The Presidential Imbizo would assist government in ensuring adequate and sustainable delivery of basic services. And I will ensure that all the issues affecting communities are attended to,” said, President Ramaphosa.
The Presidential entourage visited a newly constructed road interchange at Vereeniging Road, Motheo TVET Artisan College where the President held conversations with young men and women who are receiving tradesman aid training and entrepreneurship training in areas such as visual arts, beauty technology and jewellery design.