How Municipality Assists The City’s Vulnerable Groups
The Municipal Council of Manzini continues to be driven by its 5-year Integrated Development Plan (2019-2024) in the delivery of services to the city. One of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) strategic objectives is to provide responsive integrated health and social welfare services by 2024; and inclusion and empowerment of disadvantaged societal groups forms part of the key activities planned towards achievement of this objective. This objective also resonates with Goal number 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; which aims at reducing inequality within and among countries. As part of its social welfare services, the Municipal Council of Manzini plays a significant role towards management of vulnerable groups in the city; both at individual and family level.
Vulnerable groups that exist in the City of Manzini include persons with disabilities, vulnerable/marginalized children, persons with mental illness, homeless people, victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and poverty stricken elderly citizens. Where necessary, the Municipality links the vulnerable persons with relevant stakeholders so that they may get further assistance. The following are some of the social welfare services provided by the Municipality;
- PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The Municipality identifies, conducts assessments and assists persons with disabilities with the necessary intervention or link them with relevant stakeholders who are better positioned to provide the necessary assistance. In the past year the Municipality linked persons with disabilities with the Social Welfare Office. The Municipality also hosted a Disability Day under the theme “Towards Inclusive Service Delivery” in partnership with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Federation of the Disabled in Swaziland (FODSWA) and Cheshire Homes. The objective was to sensitise community caregivers and rural health motivators on practices in community service delivery, relevant legislation and grants as well as promoting sport through wheelchair basketball.
The Municipality also monitors their activity and welfare in the city. It also notifies them of imminent health threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic and sensitizes them on how to protect themselves from same. The city presently has 19 regular persons with disability (11 males and 8 females) and these are visually impaired and physically challenged. This group of society can be assisted in the form of canes and wheelchairs, food, clothing and accommodation (rental fee). Employers are urged to consider offering persons with disabilities employment.
- VULNERABLE CHILDREN
The city has a number of vulnerable children. These are identified through social centres (commonly referred to as soup kitchens) and through community rural health motivators and caregivers. Once identified, the Municipality assesses their needs and links them with relevant stakeholders. A number of them have in the past been assisted by the Municipality through linking them with health care facilities, Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriage offices as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that provide psycho-social support for survivors of abuse. The Ministry of Home Affairs has in the past assisted them in terms of acquisition of national Identity Documents. Vulnerable children are also provided with basic education through the Municipality’s social centres as well as counselling services through social worker visitations.
- PERSONS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
With Manzini being the Kingdom of Eswatini’s geographic and economic hub; and with the only psychiatric hospital in the country being located in the City of Manzini, the Municipality has identified at least 24 people (18 males and 6 female) with severe mental illness that has led to displacement. The Municipality conducts engagements with this group of society on a one-on-one basis and what transpires is that some come to the bustling city because of the prospects of getting left-over food from the litter bins in the streets. The Municipality, through its Social Welfare Unit conducts an assessment and identifies their challenges. It also monitors their behaviour. The Municipality also makes attempts at locating relatives of displaced persons with mental illness; unfortunately, the affected may not be able to articulate their origins.
Whenever they become violent and pose danger to other citizens or themselves or perform acts of indecency, the Municipality, with the help of the Royal Eswatini Police Service and the city rangers, facilitates their removal from the streets for clinical care. The Municipality also provides psycho-social support. According to a needs assessment, this group of society requires assistance in the form of food, shelter, clothing, care and psychosocial support. Citizens are urged to inform the Municipality through its 24/7 Call Centre (800 2004/2505 7000) or the Royal Eswatini Police Service whenever they come across a violent person with mental illness or whenever they spot one who exhibits indecent behavior.
- HOMELESS PEOPLE
The Municipality defines homeless citizens as people without housing or people without homes. The Municipality provides this group of society with education and counselling on issues relating to social welfare. It also sensitizes them on imminent disasters such as the Covid-19 pandemic as well as how to protect themselves from same. Their needs include food, shelter, clothing and face masks.
…CABINET MINISTERS VISIT MANZINI BUY-BACK-CENTRE
Hardly three months into its establishment, the Manzini Buy-Back-Centre has become a hive of activity with an average of 45 transactions taking place per day. The Municipal Council of Manzini expresses gratitude to members of the public for embracing this new service whose purpose is not only to reduce environmental pollution in the city but also empower citizens economically. The newly established Buy-Back-Centre is located opposite the Manzini SEDCO estate and below the municipal abattoir. It opens from Monday to Saturday. A variety of recyclable waste material can be sold at the Buy-Back-Centre including paper (e.g. old newspapers, old books and exercise books), cartons, plastic bottles (preferably clear bottles), tins (e.g. soft drink and beer cans as well as paint containers), old car batteries, steel waste, corrugated iron sheets and vehicle body metal, glass bottles (e.g. beer bottles and soft drink bottles), roof tiles (e.g. Harvey and concrete tiles), clear plastic bags (e.g. cement and furniture wrap) and scrap vehicles. Fire extinguishers, copper wire, water taps and water meter, gas cylinders, manholes, street lights, road signs, guardrails, vehicle tyres, window panes, cooking oil bottles and wood products (e.g. old furniture) are, however, not acceptable at the facility.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development and that of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Prince Simelane and Moses Vilakati, respectively, last Thursday visited the facility on a familiarisation tour. They commended the Municipal Council of Manzini for the initiative, further imploring it to establish more of such facilities in other strategic areas within the city so that they are closer to the people. The ministers also mentioned that the Buy-Back-Centre has been established at the right time when some citizens have lost their means of earning a living due to the effects of Covid-19 on the economy. The following pictures were taken during the cabinet ministers’ visit…