Thusong Service Centres continue to play a vital role in giving South Africans access to government services, particularly those who live below the poverty line in rural and disadvantaged areas.
Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Pinky Kekana, said that government remains committed to ensure that services reach and meet the needs of the people and ultimately closing the gap of inequality.
“The Thusong Service Centre Programme has been reaching about six million beneficiaries every year through the Integrated Mobile Outreach Programme, and it is our goal to increase this number of beneficiaries’ year on year. This is both a government target and one I have taken on as an individual commitment to you, in my new role as Deputy Minister in the Presidency,” Kekana said.
The Deputy Minister was addressing the launch of the seventh Annual Thusong Service Centre Week on Monday, in Botlokwa, Limpopo.
The 2021 Annual Thusong Service Centre Week takes place in conjunction with Public Service Month, under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke – building the capacity of the State through a resilient workforce that respond to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Thusong Service Centre Programme Service Delivery Model focuses on a perfected integration of partnerships with civil society and the private sector, to achieve a successful model that South Africans can be truly proud of.
Kekana extended her gratitude to partners who have supported the programme since its inception, for more than two decades.
“The partnerships with Phelophepha Train, Samsung, Digi-Titans, and the newly on boarded Think WiFi Company, to name but a few, have all yielded further positive initiatives which lead to our people benefiting through even more access to information and opportunities of development projects and economic activities, thereby contributing to the alleviation of poverty and increasing job creation,” she said.
She added that the centres have played an important role in the vaccination rollout programme by providing information on vaccines and some of the centres being identified as vaccination sites. The centres are a resource to communities for access to information and opportunities, beyond just basic services.
“Some of these services include SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) for those seeking to enter the world of entrepreneurship and looking to be capacitated and supported through government funding, as well as youth advisory services and civil society offerings to assist in various societal and community based needs,” Kekana said.
Over the last 22 years, Thusong Service Centres has served as a base from where information about communication and activities take place, including government outreach events around gender-based violence (GBV), 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, government’s programme of action, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) initiatives and many more.
“There is no doubt that this ‘one-stop’ programme of action implemented and sustained by government, for almost as long as our country attained freedom, has had a positive impact on the lives of our people. Through the Thusong Centres, government has been accessible and visible, where information and services are provided with a human face, based on the principles of Batho Pele that was the essence of the early democracy,” the Deputy Minister said.
As part of lessons taught by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Deputy Minister said that the digitalisation of the Thusong Centres basket of services are prioritised in the list of technology interventions required for government services, to ensure that citizens are assured of the continuation of access to information and opportunities through the centres.
Source: South African Government News Agency