The Thusong Service Centre (formerly known as Multi-Purpose Community Centres — MPCCs) programme of government was initiated in 1999 as one of the primary vehicles for the implementation of development communication and information and to integrate government services into primarily rural communities. This was done to address historical, social and economic factors, which limited access to information, services and participation by citizens, as they had to travel long distances to access these services.
Thusong Service Centres are one-stop, integrated community development centres, with community participation and services relevant to people’s needs. They aim to empower the poor and disadvantaged through access to information, services and resources from government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), parastatals, business, etc. enabling them to engage in government programmes for the improvement of their lives.
Government’s vision for Thusong Service Centres is to provide every South African citizen with access to information and services within their place of residence and in each local municipality by 2014 with the purpose of improving the quality of their lives through integrated service delivery.
By the end of March 2012, 171 Thusong Service Centres were in operation, making a crucial contribution to the expansion of infrastructure for access to information and services that citizens can use. Typical services found in these centres include those from the departments of Home Affairs, Labour, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Social Development, GCIS, and the department of Health as well as telecentres, the Post Office, libraries, agricultural extension offices and municipal services. Community Development Workers, the South African Police Service, NGOs and community-based organisations, also offer services through the centres.