SA: Presidency to re-introduce the Izimbizo programme

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says the Presidency will re-introduce the Izimbizo Programme to streamline community needs as the President announced a comprehensive plan to focus on service delivery at district level.

Mthembu said this when he participated in the debate on The Presidency’s budget vote in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Leading the debate earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Presidency would implement a new integrated district based approach to address service delivery challenges.

This would translate to targeted development that localises procurement and job creation, promotes and supports local businesses and involves communities instead of imposing it on them.

“We are bringing back the Izimbizo Programme… Our approach will be district based. Through the integrated delivery model, the DPME [Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation] will not just be counting how many taps have been provided; it will also monitor whether those taps have clean running water.

“We will not only be checking how many clinics have been built in an area but we will monitor the quality of the healthcare services in that particularly primary healthcare facility,” Mthembu said.

The Izimbizo Programme was first implemented by former statesman Nelson Mandela in the 90s at a time when the country was on a knife’s edge during the democratic transition political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

Following several attempts to diffuse the violence at the time, an imbizo called by the Zulu King was the one that calmed tensions and the one that drew President Mandela’s attention before President Thabo Mbeki made a push for them to be adopted as a government programme.

“Our Presidential Izimbizo, coupled with our government Community Outreach and Rapid Response Programmes by our Ministers and Deputy Ministers, will give our President and Deputy President a better view of where delivery challenges are and what interventions are required.

“These will also assist government in directly responding to the issues raised by our people during the May 2019 Elections,” Mthembu said.

Working in close collaboration with the DPME, the Presidency plans to host a colloquium with its social partners and the academic society later this month to assess any challenges encountered in the implementation of the National Development Plan and collectively input on a way forward.

“As part of executing our planning, monitoring and evaluation mandate, the DPME was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the review of the performance of government and its social partners during the first 25 years of democratic governance in South Africa.

“Working together with my predecessor, the Honourable Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, we will table the 25-Year Review within the first 100-day timeframe of this administration.

“Broadly, the 25-Year Review indicates that our democratic government achieved beyond expectations in the delivery of basic services such as housing, the provision of free access to water, electricity, healthcare and education for the poor. However, we are still lagging behind on the economic growth and transformation front,” Mthembu said.