The New Age newspaper edition of 14 February 2013 reported that the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,Richard Baloyi, was expected to address the Sterkspruit community did not arrive.
The Ministry wish to put it on record that the minister was in the area of Sterkspruit for three days and had a meeting with provincial government representatives and councillors. He later had a follow up marathon meetings with the representatives of the Sterkspruit Civic Association that constitutes the leadership of the protesters.
In the meeting between the minister and the Civic Association it was agreed that the community meeting should be postponed to a later date to allow space for the leadership of the Civic Association to absorb the report that the minister had provided to them so that they could manage the communication of the report to their members without causing tensions because it provided clear answers to all their demands - save for whether such would be palatable to the masses given the high level of mobilisation and agitation prior to the date of the envisaged meeting.
It is regrettable that events took this turn after the minister and other stakeholders in government had invested such a lot of time and energy in an attempt to resolve these matters amicably. It is also regrettable that The New Age newspaper published the story adopting a stance as if the report was a matter of facts without getting the minister's side of the story.
The reflection portrays negatively on the image of the minister despite efforts of the portfolio to bring local governance to a favourable developmental state for service delivery through a spirit of pride that local government is everybody's business.
The ministry will continue facilitating good governance through engagement of all stakeholders involved in local government matters as well as giving support through relevant mechanisms for ensuring cooperative governance and resolving issues that matters to local communities.