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Rural development a priority

08 July 2012, 18:21

President Zuma has been accused of being pro KZN and particularly Nkandla focused in his development attempts.

He has even been compared to African dictators in respect of how they used their political power associated with their government positions to develop their home towns at the expense of the rest of their countries.

 Perhaps, this concern from certain quarters of our society are justified considering the high and unabated levels of corruption that have engulfed our country since President Zuma came to power in 2009.

But are we not contradicting ourselves by propagating for rural development and turn around and accuse the man who is not only paying lip service to rural development, but is actually doing something for rural development to become a reality?

South Africa faces high unemployment rate, high poverty levels especially in the rural areas, dysfunctional schools, poor service delivery, unavailability of basics of life such as well equipped hospitals with qualified staff, under- qualified teachers and corruption.  Because this country is more rural the majority of the people who are likely to suffer as a result of these challenges are our rural communities.

Rural development is a priority of government infrastructure and economic development for our country and it should not be a short-term political goal scoring exercise.

The majority of the people in South Africa live in the rural areas. Only two of our nine provinces are predominantly rural, that is, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

All other seven provinces are rural and in South Africa being rural also means being left out of the economic benefits of the country.

To reduce the burden of poverty on their shoulders, the people from the rural areas migrate to the cities, putting a lot of pressure on the urban infrastructure.

Who will benefit from the rural development?

It is not only the people of the rural areas that will reap the benefits of the development of their areas, but the whole country at large.

Rural development will help create job opportunities in these almost neglected areas.

There will be some economic activities in these areas.

This will be the most important empowerment project that the democratic government of this country will have ever embarked on to empower the most vulnerable and the poorest of the poor in South Africa.

The urban provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape will also benefit from the rural development in that the number of people who will migrate to these provinces will be drastically reduced. The municipalities of these provinces will then be able to use their limited budgets to service the local rate-payers.

Perhaps we should allow President Zuma to show the whole country how to turn the talk shop on rural development into reality.

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