The Executive Mayor of ZF Mgcawu District Municipality, Cllr. Mgcera
Mayors from Local Municipalities
Speakers of Council and Council Whips
The Accounting Officer of ZF Mgcawu District and other Managers
Municipal Managers of Local Municipalities and other Managers
Officials from the National Department of Tourism
Representatives from the political party represented in the District Council
Representatives from the Unions represented in the District Council
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with great pleasure to be meeting with you physically after we have been meeting virtually zoom platform. We are meeting on the first day of COVID-19 Lockdown level 1 as announced by the State President, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa. We must remember that we are in day number 179 of the original Lockdown that was announced on the 26 March 2020. Things have not been easy.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact to the biggest economies of the world. South Africa was never spared either. At the time when the pandemic hit our country, our economy was already struggling and could not support the needs of its citizens. As if that was not enough, the challenges increased because of the corruption that has hit us when we were already down. Corruption has the potential to undermine the transformation agenda. It can not happen in our name. It is important that law enforcement agencies must wor with speed and bring all the culprits to book.
Amidst all these challenges and more, we are not expected to bury our heads in the sand but to rise above these challenges and bring hope to our communities.
The former State President, the late Tata Nelson Mandela ones said: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
We are gathered here today because of the decision by cabinet on the 27 May 2020 to allocate District Champions to 52 District Municipalities for the purpose to assist the President and the Deputy President to manage the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) to enhance the capacity of the state where it matters most.
The District Development Model is meant to improve intergovernmental cooperation and alignment at the coalface of service delivery and rapid responses, that is, at the local government level.
‘Inter-governmental relations’ therefore means that there should exist a relationship between the three spheres of government, the Local-, Provincial- and the National spheres.
As the spheres enter into Inter-governmental relations, they must do so mindful of the prescripts of the South African Constitution which states that, ‘the three spheres of government are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated’.
The term interrelated defines the state of the spheres’ mutual relatedness and/or connectedness. This means that in their relations, they need to give mutual respect to the work done by each sphere; with the basis being mutual interests.
This mutual respect as we do our work, gives rise to Cooperative Governance, which means that the three spheres of government should work together (cooperate) to provide citizens with a comprehensive package of services.
Further, the Constitution states that the three spheres have to assist and support each other, share information and coordinate their efforts.
It is for this reason that in 2005, the Inter-governmental Relations Framework Act (the Act) was passed to make sure that the principles in Chapter three of the Constitution on Cooperative Government are implemented.
The Act therefore, seeks to set up mechanisms to coordinate the work of all spheres of government in providing services, alleviating poverty and promoting development.
The Act also establishes a line of communication that goes from municipalities to the provinces and directly to the Presidency.
The extracts from the Constitution and the Intergovernmental relations Framework Act I mentioned earlier have been made practical by the allocation of District Champions, both Ministers and Deputy Ministers, to monitor and manage the implementation of the DDM by the Districts, working together with Local Municipalities. This is to enhance the capacity of the state where it matters most.
A question might be posed as to why should the capacity of the state be enhanced?
It needs to be enhanced because the sixth administration believes that there are persistent governance challenges in most municipalities across the country which need to be resolved.
These challenges range from lack of capacity to spend the allocated resources and to carry the mandate of Local Government as enshrined in section 152 of the Constitution, stipulated as follows:
“1. The objects of local government are -
a. to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
b. to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
c. to promote social and economic development;
d. to promote a safe and healthy environment; and
e. to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in the matters of local government.
2. A municipality must strive, within its financial and administrative capacity, to achieve the objects set out in subsection (1).”
I believe that the presentation by the District Municipality will give sense of the challenges that make the District and its Municipalities not to adequately fulfil their responsibility as stated in section 152 of the Constitution, as they touch on the five pillars of Back to Basics.
In addition to the responsibility I have just mentioned, there are other factors that will make us not succeed in the implementation of our responsibility. In terms of section 152 (1) (c) the Municipality is supposed to promote social and economic development.
The question is how far has the economic development strategy of the District been able to cultivate an environment of job creation in order to halve unemployment? How many young people have been assisted including women in SMMEs? Have we brought all big businesses to the understanding of Integrated development planning? Most importantly, are mines adhering to the prescripts of the mine charter?
Unless we respond to these questions, we will find it hard to transform the economic development. What are the main drivers of the economy in this area?
We must not forget that development in general in South Africa is impacted by the following factors:
(a) Historical reasons. South Africa's history changed the country and people's lives. Colonization was one big change that affected many countries. Main aim was to control the natural resources. To date, the natural resources of our country are still in the control of the colonizers. Unless the report t be presented paints a picture that says, the diamonds in Kimberly are cut and processed in this Province.
(c) Technology and industrialization.
(d) Health and welfare.
(f) Political stability.
Trade, technology and industrialization, health and welfare, education and political stability are all elements of Social development since they all aim at improving the well-being of every individual in the community so that they can reach their full potential. As social beings, our success as a community is linked to the well-being of each and every one of us. We are in connected.
Therefore, Social development means investing in people. Investing in people requires the removal of barriers so that all community members can journey toward their dreams with confidence and dignity.
Social development is about refusing to accept that people who live in poverty will always be poor and it is about helping people so they can move forward on their path to self-sufficiency.
This can not be realized if a safe and healthy environment is not promoted.
A healthy environment means freedom form any illnesses. The President of the Republic has announced that whilst we are battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, another form of pandemic has emerged in our country that seek to reverse our democratic gains, the Gender-Based Violence. And Femicide (GBVF).
Our women and children are suffering extreme forms of abuse from the environment in which they are supposed to be protected. They suffer these atrocities in the hands of the men that are supposed to protect them on a daily basis we hear about the gruesome killing of a woman or children.
As we are gathered here, we need to come up with ways to put an end to this scourge. The question that need to be answered is whether our justice institutions are well equipped and capacitated to deal with the cases of GBVF. We need to establish whether our health institutions are able to deal with both pandemic cases.
A report on the impact of the two pandemics must be presented, which will form the bases of our engagement with the NGO’s and CBO’s in the coming session.
As government alone, we cannot end this. We need the involvement of all the community structures that we will work with to improve the health and safety of our communities. We need to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in the matters of local government.
As we engage we must bear in mind that the DDM is designed around two fundamental pillars: intergovernmental coordination and local social compacts. Its main aim is to address service delivery backlogs and pursue alternative local economic development, which prioritizes employment creation and localization in product markets.
The officials from the National Tourism Department will make a brief presentation on projects implemented in this District and funded by the Department to improve service delivery.
In conclusion, I would love to emphasize the importance of public participation by quoting our departed former State President in his Address at a rally in Durban, 25 February 1990.
“Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country.
Their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.”
I am looking forward to working together with the District, local municipalities, and various stakeholders in the community as I carry out the Cabinet mandate. I would love to thank you for the welcome to me and my support team.