4 August 2006
The newly launched Kwa-Thema multi-purpose community centre is the first in Gauteng province to provide citizens with free internet access.
Launching the province’s 23rd multi-purpose community centre in the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality last week, Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa said it would provide locals with essential services in a “more integrated and convenient way”.
“Gone are the days when elders travelled long distances to receive services,” Hlongwa said. “They can now walk a stone’s throw distance to access services such as health and identity documents.”
The centre also houses a library, as well as offices for the departments of labour and home affairs, the Umsobomvu Youth fund, the Post Office, and Government Communications.
Speaking at the same event, Deputy Communications Minister Radhakrishna Padayachie said multi-purpose community centres “were not monuments to show how well the government is doing … They must play a role in improving people’s lives.
“Workers at this centre must put people first,” he said, adding that “if you have a client that comes two minutes before your lunch break – you cannot have them wait for the whole hour before you attend to them.”
Padayachie encouraged staff to use the services and information to educate people about acceptable social behaviour. “Teach our people to join hands and fight HIV/Aids, and make this [centre] a platform to improve the lives of the people,” he said.
Padayachie also encouraged residents to take ownership of the centre.
“For the first time as disabled people we get services closer to us,” wheelchair-bound Phila Nyandeni told BuaNews. “It was difficult for us to get some services because they were far, and it was not easy to get public transport.”
Home Affairs officials were kept busy on launch day with long queues of people requiring documents.
One of them was Roselyn Nkosi, the mother of a 10-year-old son who did not have a birth certificate. She applied for her son’s birth certificate and was told it would be ready by Wednesday.
“We are very grateful for this opportunity,” Nkosi said. “It makes our lives much easier.”