Index Cacadu District and Department of Social Development launch Project Mikondzo in Rietbron and Klipplaat.
Date Added: 22 January 2014

After Rietbron, in the Baviaans Local Municipality, and Klipplaat, in the Ikwezi Local Municipality, were identified as among the worst poverty-stricken areas in the District and in need of government intervention, the National Department of Social Development launched a new poverty alleviation programme called Project Mikondzo in the two towns in October.

The project, which means “footprint” in Xitsonga, was launched nationally on 1 September by Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, and will extend social services to 2 300 of the country’s poorest wards. These wards form part of 23 district municipalities from seven provinces across South Africa.

Project Mikondzo compels office bound officials from the department of Social Development, the National Development Agency (NDA) and the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) to join frontline officials to interact with communities in a bid to tackle social problems such as poverty, malnutrition, violence against women and child headed households. The project includes an audit of early childhood development centres and the setting up of a command centre with a toll-free hotline open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also includes a current substance abuse awareness campaign aimed at sports and music events, the targeting of gender-based violence and the strengthening of non-profit organisations.

Minister Dlamini said the roll-out would help government reach approximately two million children who qualify for child support grants, but who have not been registered with SASSA to receive grants. Door to door visits to poor households in Rietbron and Klipplaat were conducted to gain understanding about the needs of people and communicate the government programme of action. The visits also form part of the government’s performance monitoring approach on the implementation of the Anti-Poverty Strategy and service delivery.

Mobile vehicles were brought in to provide services to residents as Klipplaat and Rietbron have no departmental offices to provide government services, except for a clinic and police station. The Department of Social Development, as well as the departments of Education, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform were working in the two areas even before the launch of Project Mikondzo in these two towns.

The department of Education provided two school kitchens-one for Rietbron and for Klipplaat, for the schools feeding programme, while the Department of Agriculture encouraged people to make use of its Siyazondla programme and plant fruit trees in their gardens.

SASSA, used the opportunity to provide food parcels to poor households, while the department of Home Affairs provided ID’s and birth certificates so that the children can be registered for grants with SASSA in line with Government’s commitment to halving poverty by 2014.

A local resident, Khayalethu Sidonca, said that there were many service delivery achievements in Klipplaat and they have witnessed a number of initiatives from government aimed at improving their lives, including the provision of electricity, proper sewage system, water harvesting tanks and housing. He also thanked the Klipplaat Development Forum for its role in local development.

Sidonca said while the local Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which aims to alleviate poverty and provide income relief for the unemployed through temporary work on socially used projects was successful, they also needed a bank in Klipplaat. Currently, residents have to travel to Jansenville for banking services, which costs R70 each time. They also need a full-time doctor in the town.

Maria Meyer and Ann Jansen also noted that they appreciated the government mobile services that visited Klipplaat, but would like to also see departments like SASSA, Home affairs and Labour establishing satellite offices in Klipplaat.

Luthando Yalolo said he believes that Project Mikondzo will make a difference in the community, alleviating poverty and improving the performance of learners in schools.