Remarks by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Ms Faith Muthambi, MP, at the Community Development Workers Consultative Engagement and the African Peer Review Mechanism Second Generation Review Process at Cumberland Hotel, Worcester
Chief Director of Service Delivery Mr Zamxaka;
Cllr Margareth Sampson;
All Councilors present;
Senior Leaders from all spheres of Government;
Our important guests, the CDWs of the Western Cape Province;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to thank you for affording us the opportunity to engage with you about various matters on your area of work as Community Development Workers (CDWs) of this province. Our engagement with you, today, follows our visit to Limpopo province only a few days ago where we also interacted with your CDW colleagues, with a view of addressing common areas of concern as well as appreciating the good work you have undertaken to service our communities.
I would like assure you that the Department of Public Service and Administration, on behalf of the government as a whole, do acknowledge the contribution you have made since the inception of the programme to advance development of our communities.
I need not stress that Community Development Workers are an all-important link between the citizens and the programmes of government, designed to address poverty and access to essential social services. During our engagement in Limpopo, there were a number of issues raised including the urgent need to re-evaluate and revitalize the programme in order to serve as a meaningful vehicle to the people.
Let me illustrate how important is this programme in respect to the welfare of our communities and the immense role being played by yourselves. Ms Kate Mashishi is a CDW deployed in Ward 19, in an area called Mokopane at the Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo province. During her duties as a CDW, Ms Mashishi was confronted with a disconcerting matter involving a bereaved family that needed transfer of a deceased member of the family from Johannesburg to Limpopo.
The family got entangled in bureaucratic red tapes and lack of support from Social Workers in the area, who also did not have resources to facilitate return of the body of the deceased. Ms Mashishi, as a dedicated CDW, took it upon herself to facilitate necessary paperwork, sourced monetary donations and utilised her own vehicle to travel to Boksburg in Gauteng to fetch the body of the deceased.
The trying circumstances of the family had touched Ms Mashishi so deeply and she embarked on a course of action that would bring relief to the family. As CDWs, we should not leave any problem unattended. We should not abandon people and communities with their problems not fully addressed.
We would like to reassure you that empowerment of CDWs across the country remains critical. As government we are committed to ensure that the correct tools of trade and conditions of service in general are looked at urgently to enable you to effectively serve the people.
I am sure you are very much aware of the National Development Plan 2030. The NDP highlights the need for well-run and effectively coordinated state institutions with skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and are capable of delivering consistently, high-quality services, while prioritising the nation’s developmental objectives. Public servants and all Community Development Workers are therefore, the change agents, enablers and facilitators of integrated good governance and public administration towards Vision 2030.
I would like to emphasise, as I did in our first CDW engagement in Limpopo province that, multi-skilled CDWs help enrich the quality of services for communities, by identifying new programmes and creating linkages and coordination with other community stakeholders. For example, in this era where as government, we have embarked on a drive to push for radical socio-economic transformation, it should be the CDWs who help people to access information and services to set up community-based projects such as small business development projects.
It should be the CDWs who explain to our people, what government means when we speak of radical socio-economic transformation. It should be the CDWs who help clarify to our people and assure them that radical economic transformation is only aimed at unlocking their economic potential, so that everyone can participate in the economy of our country.
Your colleagues in Limpopo briefed us about their challenges and frustrations, but they still committed that regardless of the challenges, they will continue to be the public service cadre of a special type.
One of the challenges they briefed be us about was that there is lack of proper training and development pragrammes, specifically aimed at enhancing the skills of community development workers. This, they said, lead to lack of proper career planning and advancement for the CDWs.
After our meeting with the CDW, we have already raised the matter with the National School of Government, which is an institution within our portfolio. We are happy to inform you that the NSG is already working on a number capacity development initiatives for both the Community Works Programme (CWP) and the Community Development Workers (CDW). The NSG is planning to conduct the first pilot session of the programme in February 2018. a. The target audience for the first group will be CDWs, representatives from the NPOs that are the implementing agents, site managers and supervisors from the CWP, COGTA officials and DPSA officials.
We remain committed to helping you in improving your skills, and in shaping your careers as public servants.
APRM Second Generation Review process
As part of this consultative engagement, we would also like to make you aware about the upcoming African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) second generation review process, which will commence in the 2018/19 financial year. The APRM is an instrument that is voluntarily acceded to by African Union (AU) Member States.
You would recall that since formally acceding to the APRM on 9 March 2003, South Africa has submitted its three progress reports. The Third Report on the Implementation of the National Programme of Action was tabled for consideration by the APR Forum in January 2014. The January 2014 report constituted the last and final progress report on the implementation of the APRM in South Africa since the Base Review.
As such, South Africa, together with Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana, is amongst some of the countries due for the Second Generation Review process.
To date there are 21 APRM Member States who have undergone the Base Review and Kenya is the first country to go through its Periodic Review whilst Uganda, Ivory Coast and South Africa are amongst countries due for their periodic reviews. It is in line with the above strategic and political context that South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Algeria and Nigeria, among others, are due to follow in the footsteps of Kenya and undertake their Second APRM Generation reviews.
It is thus important that yourselves as the CDWs, are appraised on the APRM review process so that you can also share this information with the community as we prepare for the Second Generation Review process. As you may be aware, in South Africa, the APRM process is a participatory process led by government but inclusive of civil society – business, labour, professionals, non-governmental organisations and other variety of stakeholders. A range of different mechanisms are used to ensure that citizens have a chance to contribute to this process. Through this participatory process, the overall objective is to build consensus and ensure buy-in to a country programme of action.
As CDWs who are rooted in your communities, you will also play an important role of engaging the communities during the upcoming APRM second generation review process.
World Aids Day
Our gathering here today is coinciding with the world aids day, which is a very important day in our calendar. This year, World AIDS Day is commemorated under the theme, It is my right to know my status. Prevention is my responsibility. We are encouraged to make our actions count and take personal and collective responsibility to prevent new HIV and TB infections in our country.
As community development workers, you must be active in intensifying community education and awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and other health related matters. As government, we are always grateful of the crucial role that our CDWs continues to play in educating our people, and in supporting those who are affected by the effects of HIV/AIDS within their communities.
As CDWs, you must be equipped with information in order to help members of the community who are in need of assistance.
You are public servants of a special type, with multiple skills, and we really appreciate your efforts when it comes to ensuring that our people receive health services.
As foot soldiers of government in your communities, you must encourage everyone to know their health status, and continue to preach the message of prevention.
16 Days of Activism campaign
This consultative engagement also takes place during the time when it is The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign which in our country we observe annually from 25 November to 10 December. This year the campaign will be held under the theme: Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward.
Over the period government will convene a series of dialogues on violence against women and children to focus on the problem, discuss the causes and to find appropriate solutions. Through the dialogue sessions government will interact with community members who experience violence and abuse.
We urge you as the CDWs to be part of this campaign. Encourage our communities to report all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence to the police. Our criminal justice system and our courts deal harshly with those who commit violence and abuse. The police and courts are empowered to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence, assault and rape.
During these 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, as government, we call upon men of our country to take the lead in the fight against violence and abuse. Men have the power to put an end to abuse, assault, rape and domestic violence against women and children. We call on responsible father figures to instil the values of human dignity, equality and respect in young men and boys. Our young boys must be mentored and guided in their journey to adulthood so they value and respect women and children.
I wish all of you good luck in your important role, and I hope you will be prepared for both the CDWP conference and the APRM second generation review process, both which will happen next year. We know the plight and difficulties that you face at times, but we are happy that no matter how difficult the situation can be, you continue to soldier on.
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa