Mbeki opens rural government centre near Richmond

2008-06-08 00:00

President Thabo Mbeki, accompanied by the minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad and KZN Premier S’bu Ndebele, opened a one-stop government services centre in the village of Inhlazuka near Richmond on Saturday.

The Inhlazuka Thusong Service Centre is the 100th centre in the country. The centre houses government departmental offices such as Home Affairs, SAPS, GCIS, Labour and a library as well as an Internet café and is expected to fast-track service delivery in the poor surrounding community.

Addressing the community, Mbeki said although government faces challenges, it tries its best to bring services as close to the poor people as possible.

He said one of the objectives of the centres is to stop people being referred from one place to another, often at great expense and over long distances, for the services they deserve.

He urged the community to make full use of the facility and be its custodians. “Protect it from vandalism, theft and abuse because it’s yours. Please take care of it and make sure that it contributes to the attainment of the goal of a better life for our people,” said Mbeki.

Ndebele said the centre is one of 15 centres in KZN, with another nine currently being built. He said that seven more have been approved for the 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years.

“The Thusong services centres seek to ensure that the most physically and economically marginalised communities are able to access government information, services and skills development. It provides a platform for localised service delivery,” he said.

Members of the Inhlazuka community previously had to travel to Pietermaritzburg, spending R200 in the process. The centre is also expected to provide services to the nearby Ixopo.

thandom@witness.co.za

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