President Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by national and provincial leaders, is hosting his 6th Presidential District Development Model Imbizo in the Winelands District Municipality in the Western Cape on Friday.
The district which consists of towns such as Paarl, Worcester, Stellenbosch, and Wellington is well-known for producing about 70% of South African wine and using its vineyards to attract tourists from all over the world.
The Imbizo aims to ensure that the three spheres of government collaborate to resolve the service delivery challenges faced by communities.
The district is under the leadership of the Democratic Alliance (DA) after the Local Government Elections of 2021.
Amongst its challenges are high levels of poverty with at least 454 households being child-headed, about 10% of the number in the Western Cape.
About 45% of these households live in informal shacks, nearly double the rate in the province which has approximately 25% of people living in informal housing.
Drug-related crime also remains a perennial problem in the community.
Meanwhile, tensions have been mounting between the African National Congress (ANC) and DA ahead of the Presidential Imbizo.
The ANC has rejected what it says are the DA’s attempts to politicise the government programme by suggesting it is a form of electioneering.
For its part, the DA has said it will use the Imbizo as an opportunity to call on the president to withdraw the recently published draft Employment Equity Amendment Act, which the party says is racist and like the apartheid-era Group Areas Act which seeks to confine groups of people to specific areas and jobs.
Cooperative Governance Minister, Thembi Nkadimeng, concedes that organising the Imbizo in the DA-led province and municipality has been a challenge.
She however adds that collaboration by all government’s three spheres is critical to solving the service delivery challenges facing communities.
“It’s an opportunity very rarely for the president to be given to communities to raise issues that they would want. If those policies need amendment and modification, the people of South Africa are the ones who experience them…the premier has confirmed his attendance; the mayor has been sitting and cooperating…I am sitting at the mayor’s office as we are talking now. So, it is three spheres of government working together. The start may be difficult but ultimately the people of South Africa say we must work together.”