Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Ladies and gentlemen
Mme Ruth Mompati/ Back to Basics
I pay tribute to Mme Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Isithwalandwe / Seaparankoe, a freedom fighter, a leader who served with humility and commitment wherever she was called – be it to the world stage as an ambassador or as the Mayor of Naledi Local Municipality.
It is a tribute to her leadership that the Naledi Local Municipality, which she led as mayor from 2000-2010, was one of the 12 municipalities in the Bokone-Bophirima (North West) province that received unqualified, improved or consistent audit outcomes for 2013/14.
These results are achieved through strong political oversight, constant monitoring by councils, improved performance management, functioning internal audit and audit committees, as well as sound administration and leadership.
North-West was the first province in which a joint national and provincial Back to Basics team was established.
Community work programme
The Community Work Programme (CWP) provides an employment safety net for the poorest of the poor. It provides a basic level of income security through work.
It helps to address poverty and unemployment while other government policies to create decent work are being implemented, especially amongst women and young people.
The CWP supplements government’s social grants programme by putting R1,4 billion rand into the pockets and onto the tables of more than 200 000 participants.
What makes the CWP different is that it is also a community programme. People in the area help to decide on the kind of work needed.
This could be looking after orphans and vulnerable children, helping sick people, assisting teachers at schools, looking after children while their parents are at work, and working with the local police to improve safety and reduce crime.
We are committed and on track to establish at least one CWP site in every local and metropolitan municipality by the end of 2016/17.
In 2013/14 there were 148 CWP sites in 140 municipalities. By the end of 2014/15, we added an additional 37 sites in 19 municipalities. There are now 185 sites in 159 municipalities covering 2302 wards.
This financial year we will establish sites in a further 30 municipalities bringing the total number of CWP sites to 220.
Over the five years of this administration the CWP will put R5,6 billion into the pockets of the poorest of the poor.
In the past financial year 43 634 CWP participants benefitted from training opportunities offered by the programme. This has helped skill participants to start their own sustainable income-generating initiatives.
A partnership with the Amajuba FET College in the KZN Province has benefitted 800 CWP participants who have been provided training in Early Childhood Development (ECD), bricklaying, home-based care and community gardening.
A partnership with the University of the North West, 75 CWP participants are currently receiving training as Grade R educators.
Another partnership facilitated through the CWP entails support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Mahikeng Municipality’s Waste Management Programme.
ESKOM debt owed by municipalities
CoGTA participates actively in the War Room on Energy chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
We are tackling the difficult and complex issue of debt owed by municipalities to ESKOM and water boards.
We have met with the 20 top owing-municipalities, SALGA, National Treasury, ESKOM. The meeting agreed on a clear action plan for the next six months.
National Treasury will continue working with municipalities that are persistently defaulting on payments to Eskom and water boards to ensure that they implement the necessary financial recovery plans.
We will also work with ESKOM, NERSA, National Treasury, and SALGA to, amongst others:
Review the requirement that municipalities pay in a 15 day period rather than what is required in terms of section 65 of the Municipal Finance Management Act. This results in municipalities being charged unnecessary interest.
Review the penalties being imposed on municipalities for exceeding their reserve capacity.
Establishing an integrated tariff regulatory body that looks at the basket of municipal services holistically.
We will also take decisive action to ensure that national and provincial spheres of government settle their debts to municipalities – including consideration of withholding equitable shares. We are saying pay first, argue later.
These matters are complex and difficult but the bottom line is that owing Peter to pay Paul is simply not sustainable.
Protection of infrastructure
We are deeply concerned about reports of deliberate damage to local government infrastructure, especially water infrastructure, to achieve political goals or economic gain.
The loss of income, disruption of essential services, diversion of scarce resources as well as social instability caused often far outweigh the value of the material stolen.
A working group formed by the Deputy Ministers of CoGTA, Police, State Security, Justice, and Public Enterprises has recommended measures to the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) to tighten legislation, strengthen co-ordination amongst law enforcement agencies and the private sector.
It is recommended that existing legislation be tightened by:
Amending the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1997 to provide for minimum sentences of between 15 and 25 years in cases where: (a) the theft of non-ferrous metals has caused serious interference with or disruption of an essential service rendered for the benefit of the public, serious damage to an infrastructural facility or system, whether publically or privately owned;
Amending the Criminal Procedure Act to make it more difficult to obtain bail in cases involving the unlawful possession or illicit dealing in non-ferrous metals.
Amending the Second Hand Goods Act to further tighten the regulation of scrap metal dealers.
We need to build a civic morality that respects public infrastructure and demands its defense.
We call upon all South Africans to say: “Asifuni izinyoka. Uma izinyoka zintshontsha izinto zabantu, sizozibopha.”
Integrated urban development and spatial transformation
Sadly, twenty years into democracy, South Africa’s cities continue to reflect the spatial legacy of apartheid.
The architect in chief of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, must be rejoicing that some of his designs not only remain intact, but are being celebrated as triumphs of the human intellect by izimbongi of illiberalism.
The poet Gabeba Baderoon writes that:
“Geography is history. Living in Cape Town means you travel through the past all the time. Geography is learning how to step gently on the past, and walking from present into history and back with each footstep. This oscillation between temporalities makes me think of the back and forth relationship I have with Cape Town.
It contains all the things that make me angry, almost as much as my heritage, and the things that I adore. When I shop there, I get cross about the magazines in the queue leading to the tills: they almost always present a line of white faces.
Last week, I felt guilty when an American friend said that when she landed in Cape Town, she didn’t know if she was in Africa – there were so few black faces. I felt guilty because the city looked to her like those lines of magazines I get cross about displayed at checkouts.”
The draft Integrated Development Framework seeks to deal with these challenges in a rapidly urbanizing society while recognizing the inextricable links between rural and urban development.
The IUDF marks a new deal for South African cities and towns. It sets out a policy framework for guide the development of inclusive, resilient and liveable urban settlements. It is based on the goals of access, growth, governance and spatial transformation.
It is undergoing an extensive process of consultation. We expect the final draft to be complete by November 2015.
We thank the Deputy Ministers in the IUDF political oversight committee for their continued guidance and wisdom.
We also thank our partners in academia and the private sector as well as the SA Cities Network, SALGA and our international partners GIZ and the European Union Dialogue Facility.
But spatial transformation and rapid urbanization cannot wait for policies to be complete. The late Gil Scott-Heron said, “The revolution will not be televised, it will be live.” Urbanisation is very live. It will not be televised.
Therefore, even as we are finalizing the Integrated Urban Development Framework the 2015/16 budget already starts to realign public spending to support the spatial restructuring of our urban areas by:
Modifying the infrastructure grant system to support mixed-use, mixed-income precincts. These modifications will be coupled with performance-based allocations to reward cities that demonstrate progressive changes in their urban form, improve access to basic services, reduce barriers to social and economic opportunity, and
Refocusing the Neighbourhood Development Programme to support the development of economic hubs in large urban townships.
The Cities Support Programme in National Treasury is working with metropolitian municipalities on initiatives such as the Corridors of Freedom in Johannesburg, the Metro South East Corridor in Cape Town and the Cornubia mixed income commercial and residential development in eThekwini.
Our success or failure with spatial transformation and integrated urban development will have a decisive influence on whether we become a nation united in our diversity or simply a collection of people living together separately.
We thank the Chairperson and members of the Municipal Demarcation Board for their dedicated and conscientious work.
We are 15 years into democratic local government. We must review the configuration and institutional arrangements of municipalities to improve governance and ensure that communities are better served.
This is in line with the Back to Basics approach and the proposals made in the NDP for greater regionalization and shared services roles for district municipalities.
The Minister of CoGTA, after consulting the MECs of local government, has requested the MDB in terms of section 22 (2) of the Municipal Demarcation Act investigate reconfiguring 80 municipalities to optimize their viability.
The MDB is on track to complete the necessary investigations and consultations before the 2016 local government elections.
Local Government elections
Local government elections must be held within 90 days of 18 May 2016. These will be our fifth local government elections since 1994.
Cabinet has established an Inter Ministerial Task Team on Local Government Elections chaired by the Minister of CoGTA. Preparations are on track.
The Municipal Demarcation Board is expected to hand over the final ward boundaries to the IEC during November 2015. The IEC will then begin determining voting districts and engaging in voter registration.
There are likely to be some changes to ward boundaries. We encourage all voters to confirm where they must be registered to vote.
Soon political parties will start selecting candidates for the 2016 local government elections. May they remember Mme Ruth Segomotsi Mompati as they do so.
I thank you.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS