The provision of services in rural areas with special reference to health and education : a case study of Okhombe village in the North-West Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal.
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This study is an examination of services in previously disadvantaged rural areas of South Africa with special reference to health and education. The case study approach was used in this study and Okhombe Ward of the Amazizi area in Northern Kwazulu-Natal was selected for this research project. The purpose of the study was firstly to determine the socio-economic profile of the people in Okhombe. Secondly, the study intended to identify whether services that enhance well-being are available in the Okhombe. Thirdly, the study aimed at assessing the quality and adequacy of the services that are available. Fourthly, the study aimed at ascertaining the concerns, problems and needs of people. Fifthly, the study intended to establish whether power dynamics compete with each other in the acquisition and accessibility of services and; lastly to forward recommendations based on findings from this research. The research found that the people were happy with the manner in which decisions were taken regarding the village. Meetings are called up at the community hall and every household is invited. There is consultation and negotiation with the people. This study found that, the health needs of the people are being catered for by the many traditional healers in the area and a mobile clinic that visits the Okhombe Ward on two Wednesdays a month. The main clinic that services the Okhombe Ward and entire Amazizi area is located some ten kilometers from Okhombe. There are no emergency and hospital services available in the area. While the people are happy with services of the many traditional healers in the area, they are not satisfied with the present health provisions by the Department of Health. It is recommended that a full tinle clinic be established in Okhombe to replace the mobile clinic and that provisions be made for hospital and emergency services in the Amazizi area. There is a primary and a high school that caters for the educational needs of the children. The high school lacks electricity, water supply and an administration building. The Principal and the heads of departments at the high school make use of space in the adjacent community hall. Both schools did not have their full complement of educators in January 2001. The primary school has electricity and a standpipe for water. Further, the schools did not have resources such as properly maintained sports fields, laboratories, libraries and good toilet and sanitation facilities. There also was a shortage of desks and chairs at both schools. The Okhombe community places great stress on education and this is borne by the fact that they would like both boys and girls to be educated. They would like a skills training centre for school leaving children to be established in the area. The people believe that education and skills training would enable the youth to secure employment in the competitive labour market. The community also wants Adult Basic Education to be reintroduced in the area. The Department of Education must provide the necessary infrastructure in terms of furniture, administration buildings, ablution facilities, libraries and equipped specialist rooms. It must also provide a full complement of educators for the schools at the beginning of each year in order that the schools function at an optimal level. Schools must offer subjects like woodwork, agricultural science, metalwork, computer studies, etc. that will help prepare youth for later employment. To this end schools must be equipped with the necessary workshops, specialist rooms and qualified educators. A traditional hierarchical system exists in Okhombe. At the local level, the Induna is in charge. Above the Induna is the Chief. The chief is the most powerful person in the area under his control and all disputes are taken to the Chief's court.