row brews over centre

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The mayor of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Milton Morema, has criticised provincial Premier Thabang Makwetla for converting a multi-purpose community centre into a government training centre.

Morema said this was done without proper consultation and the people were unhappy.

The centre is the former Mapulaneng College of Education and was build by the former Lebowa "homeland".

It is being used by the Bushbuckridge community radio, the police and for adult basic education and training.

Makwetla announced last week Friday that the province had identified the Bushbuckridge-based Mapulaneng multipurpose community centre for the training of government managers.

He made the announcement during the launch of the accelerated capacity building flagship project at the centre,

"Programme director, given our commitment to accelerated management development in the province, we are pleased that we have been able to identify permanent infrastructure for use as the Mpumalanga management centre," said Makwetla in his speech.

"Mapulaneng multi-purpose community centre facility will be used as our management centre that will coordinate management training and development interventions," Makwetla added.

He said the centre would serve as an in-service facility, where a range of programmes and courses would be offered to provincial and local government managers.

"We believe that our commitment to develop our managers will contribute to improving the quality of service delivery and development in the province."

Morema attended the function and when asked about his feelings, said he preferred not to comment "because the people on the ground are not happy about it".

"The Bushbuckridge community has told me that the centre should rather have been turned into a satellite university so that they could benefit from it. As things stand, it will only benefit government officials.

"I therefore reserve my personal comment since I'm the mouthpiece of the people," said Morema.

"The people say no proper consultation was made," added Morema.

The premier's office, however, said the move would help the community and the civil service.

"As the premier's office, we have not received any correspondence from the mayor's office.

"If anything, we are optimising the utilisation of the facility by adding the management development centre, so that it truly becomes multi-purpose.

"We are convinced that the decision to locate the training centre at Bushbuckridge, one of the presidential poverty nodal areas, will have the desired economic and developmental impact for the local community," said Makwetla's spokesman, Ntime Skhosana yesterday.