Gauteng MEC Mbali Hlophe outlined departmental plans for Social Development, Agriculture and Rural Development that will help better the livelihoods of Gauteng citizens.
In light of the vision shared by Premier Panyaza Lesufi for his cabinet for the term, the department highlighted the importance of focusing on the poor and working class who continue to be the victims of poverty, underdevelopment and its associated ills.
With substance abuse identified as one of the grave ills prevalent in the country, Hlophe shared strategies and plans to prevent it from getting worse.
This involves implementing multiple programmes that will educate young people about the detrimental use of substance abuse and convert them into ambassadors.
Ke Moja is one of the substance abuse programmes aimed at reducing the demand for drugs in communities, a programme that the department says they want to develop.
Through the GRC anti-substance strategy, the Department also ran TV seasons of the Kick It awareness campaign on SABC 1.
As a way to combat the severity of substance abuse, there are also rehabilitation centres across Gauteng.
“In the interim, the department will be maximising admissions in all 1 400 plus treatment beds, intensifying after-care including skills development, education, bursaries, and so on. As Gauteng, we will use all the resources we have, using the full might of the state to turn the corner against Nyaope and related.” said the department.
In response to homelessness in Gauteng, the department revealed that the aim is to restore hope and dignity for homeless people.
“The Gauteng department of social development is currently finding 26 homeless shelters in the province and has launched four park homes for the homeless across the province, accommodating around 3000 beneficiaries. The department continues to link beneficiaries in these park homes with centres of excellence for skills development,” shared the department.
The department further shared plans to deal with poverty to ensure the social inclusion of the marginalised and connect the poor and vulnerable to economic opportunities.
Speaking about the war on poverty, the department explained: “Our work in combating poverty is driven by GRC anti-poverty struggle. The aim of the strategy is to eliminate urban hunger and inequality. It also aims to ensure the social inclusion of the marginalised, connect the poor and vulnerable to economic opportunities, as well as combat hunger and food insecurity.”
They further reveal that they seek to use agriculture to improve capacity, empower the most vulnerable and address food shortages.
“These initiatives aim to increase the agricultural skills of those who are extremely poor, primarily women and young people,” they shared.
Beneficiaries targeted are jobless people who live in peri-urban areas, are in utter poverty and depend heavily on social assistance and means of subsistence.