On a sunny Saturday, the 30th of September, the Ngcedomhlophe sports field in Mandeni Local Municipality buzzed with excitement as the launch of the Ilembe Masakhane campaign unfolded.
Spearheaded by the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, this initiative aims to inspire residents to take an active role in their municipality’s affairs by engaging in community meetings and staying current on service bills.
The Ilembe Masakhane campaign signifies a new era of citizen empowerment in Mandeni and the broader Ilembe district. Its core message is simple yet profound: when communities actively participate in local governance and meet their responsibilities as citizens, the entire municipality benefits.
The event garnered significant attention, with attendees including the Mayor of the Ilembe district, Cllr Thobani Shandu, and the Mayor of Mandeni, Cllr Thabani Mdlalose. Both mayors offered their enthusiastic support for the campaign, emphasizing the positive impact it would have on their respective municipalities.
One of the key highlights of the launch was the commitment from the municipal leaders to provide concessions to residents who pay their bills on time. This not only serves as an incentive for timely payments but also demonstrates the local government’s dedication to working collaboratively with its citizens.
MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi addressed the crowd, expressing her belief in the power of community engagement. She emphasized that “Masakhane” means “Let’s Build Ourselves” in isiZulu, and that this campaign is a call for residents to actively participate in the development and betterment of their communities.
The campaign’s core objectives include:
1. **Increased Civic Participation:** Encouraging residents to attend community meetings, provide input, and share their concerns and ideas with local authorities.
2. **Financial Responsibility:** Stressing the importance of paying service bills promptly to ensure the sustainability of essential municipal services.
3. **Community Development:** Promoting a sense of ownership and pride in the local area, leading to safer, cleaner, and more vibrant neighborhoods.
4. **Transparent Governance:** Fostering an environment where municipal leaders are accountable to the people they serve, ensuring transparency in decision-making.
The Ilembe Masakhane campaign is not just about one-time involvement but a sustained commitment to building a better future for Mandeni and the Ilembe district. It encourages residents to be active participants in shaping the destiny of their communities, emphasizing that collective efforts yield greater results.
As part of the launch, the MEC together with mayors participated in a clean-up campaign and visited the local taxi rank and businesses within the Sundumbili area to spread the word about the campaign.
As the campaign gains momentum, it is expected that the residents of Mandeni and the entire Ilembe district will witness positive changes in their municipalities. The launch event served as a promising start, symbolizing unity, collaboration, and a shared vision of a brighter future. With the unwavering support of local leaders and the commitment of engaged citizens, the Ilembe Masakhane campaign is poised to make a lasting impact, creating stronger, more vibrant communities for all.