Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi has called on the private sector to partner with her department in a bid to build a caring society to protect the poor and vulnerable.
She was at The Boardwalk Convention Centre yesterday at a stakeholders breakfast, where she spoke to academics, business executives, mayor Ben Fihla, councillors, religious leaders and community representatives.
The call comes at a time when many communities battle with social ills.
The department’s focus area for service delivery includes a substance abuse programme, an early childhood development (ECD) programme, women empowerment and services for older people.
These are the areas where it needs partners to come on board.
Sihlwayi, acknowledging the role the private sector already played, said her department saw it as necessary to engage more partners to establish alliances towards positive social change.
“We do not need your money, but rather for you to respond to local needs.
“We ask people to turn around what you see and make an impact where you are.
“Today’s engagement is important because together we can push away the poverty line from our society,” she said.
Some corporate representatives present pledged to work with the department.
However, they requested a fuller list of the needs.
Nelson Mandela Bay speaker Maria Hermans said it was the responsibility of public representatives to engage the metro’s 60 wards and champion a garden project in each ward.
“If we do not implement this, we are killing the residents. We also want [residents] to be fully behind it and its sustainability,” she said.
Carol Hall, of Vodacom, said she would discuss with her executives a proposal for members of the public to donate old phones to be upgraded and donated to the elderly.
– Hendrick Mphande