Address by the Acting Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Honourable Nathi Mthethwa, to the community of the Dipaleseng Local Municipality, Mpumalanga province
13 May 2011
Let me take this opportunity to thank you all for allowing me as the Acting Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to make reflections on the service delivery interventions that government has made in dealing with the service delivery needs and challenges that have been facing the community of Dipaleseng for quite some time now.
These became even more pronounced when community protests took place between July 2009 and February 2010. Subsequently, the President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma and several Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Premier and MECs undertook a visit to this area to get first hand information from the community itself about the challenges, with the sole purpose of ensuring that the government responds effectively, efficiently and in a coordinated and integrated manner to the challenges. After carefully listening to the community, indeed government found that there was need to urgently and systematically address amongst other grievances the following:
1. Infrastructure and the delivery of basic services such as water reticulation, sanitation, roads, electricity
2. The provision of housing and safety
3. Ensure the provision of health, education and recreation
4. Address matters well pertaining to land and farm dwellers
5. Advance local economic development through ensuring meaningful public participation in matters of governance as well as social development.
Significant progress on service delivery
Programme director, I am happy to announce today and can say without any fear of contradiction that on my visit to the various wards and institutions around this area this morning, I have seen with my very own eyes and also heard from community members I interacted with that indeed remarkable progress and significant achievements have been made and continue to be made to address service delivery and other stated needs of the people of Dipaleseng! Let me hasten to remind you that this could not have happened without a collaborative partnership with you as the community, the local business like Burnstone and other, working hand-in-hand with an inter-governmental team.
People’s lives improving for the better
In line with the local Government Turn Around Strategy (LGTAS) that the Cabinet adopted in December 2009 as well as the Municipal Turnaround Strategies (MTAS) developed per municipality, the lives of the people of Dipaleseng are fast getting turned around for the better! The reality of a better life gets closer with every coordinated effort between government and local communities.
Just to illustrate
- The Dyer Road in Ward 3 and Siyathemba in Ward 4 the roads that were dilapidated have been rehabilitated through the paving of the project for a 1,6 km stretch, but I also hasten to admit, that due to budgetary constraints, 500m still remains incomplete. However, the District Local Municipality (DLM) has committed a budget for its completion during the 2010/11 financial year.
- The construction of a 1 km section of Johnny Mokoena (Stuart) has been completed
- A storm water drainage system, which had been one of the major concerns of the community of Balfour, has been completed to the tune of R2,7 million. In a clear demonstration that “Together, we can do more”, the road was done in partnership with Burnstone Mine. For me that is indeed Cooperative Governance in action!
On provision of clean water reticulation and sanitation:
- An 11,4km water supply pipeline from Fortuna water works to Balfour Siyathemba reservoir has been completed.
- Water reticulation to 600 households at the area of Grootvlei Extension onehas been completed.
- Water supply mainline from Grootvlei works to Grootvlei Extension one has been completed.
- The exercise of cleaning the 12 reservoirs in the municipal area was also successfully completed and a total of 30 boreholes have been drilled and equipped in deep rural farm areas.
All these have and will continue to ensure that clean water that the people of Balfour have long been yearning for is being provided! This is a basic right that is enshrined in the Freedom Charter, which our government will work even harder in clearing out the apartheid-era backlogs until each and every citizen in this country has access to clean drinking water!
With regard to the provision of good sanitation, again in this area, significant progress has been registered. In Mandela Section (Ward 4), a total of 74 sewer connections have been successfully completed. Worth noting is that 156 VIP toilets were constructed in farm areas thus further advancing the government’s drive to drive rural development and restore the basic dignity that an efficient sanitation system brings to every human being.
A significant number of houses that were not finished have now been completed. In ward 4, a total of 23 houses that were built without toilets, roofs and also had numerous cracks have been successfully completed.
In the area of provision of electricity yet again notable strides have been made. For instance, 387 housing units in Grootvlei Extension 1 have been electrified whilst a further 213 households are expected to be provided with electricity during the financial year 2011/12 and this will be to the tune of R1,5 million which has already been budgeted for and approved. In addition, 2 high mast lights and street lights have been installed in each of the 5 wards in this area. These developments will go a long way in helping enhance community access to energy which is a critical human right that is essential to improving the lives of the people as well as improve safety and security of the people in this community, especially young girls and women who have been vulnerable to a range of crimes including rape and other heinous crimes that in the main happen under the cloak of darkness.
Ladies and gentlemen, today I have witnessed with my very own eyes quite a number of other exciting developments in this area. I do believe that a quiet revolution is clearly underway in this relatively small community, and it is all through working together.
On public amenities
A state of the art 24 hour clinic, a Thusong Service Centre, a Community Hall, disaster management centre and Social Development Offices have been constructed. These will all ensure that the community has access to critical government services including health, information on government services as well as social grants and thus help reduce the level of poverty that has been ravaging this community for a while.
On local social and economic development
Ladies and gentlemen, it is also heartening and comforting to note that progress is also being made in ensuring that local social and economic development has not been left behind. You do know that leaving the hands of the youth idle can results in all sorts of unintended consequences, so the more social and economic development initiatives in this community, the better for the nation at large.
Education and skills development
Programme director, in April 2010, the Department of Basic Education, started rolling out a nutrition programme that is already helping alleviate poverty amongst the poor and vulnerable children in Setsheng, Nthoroane, Isifisosethu and Tshepeha schools.
It will be amiss of me if I do not mention the significant progress being made to educate, skill and empower our youth, who are the future leaders of our country. Through various learnerships brought about through the Department of Education and its various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) splendid work is underway to prepare the scores of the youth of Dipaleseng for their future responsibilities in society. Be it in information communication technology (ICT) , Agriculture, capacity building for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) , welding, basic project management, policing, etc.
In January 2011, 100 bursaries were provided by the National Skills Fund (NSF), 80 NCV at Sedibeng Further Education and Training College. In July this year 300 will be recruited for NSF learnerships. The commitment of the ANC government to ensure the provision of education and skills training to all is finding practical expression in this area.
On private public partnerships
Programme director; allow me at this juncture to note the significant public private partnership programme that is underway with the Burnstone Mine. The Thuthuka project which focuses on supplementary classes in 6 local schools was initiated for the period between 2008 and 2012 at the tune R15 million. Bursaries, internships, employment of the locals especially women, the opening of opportunities for local business, the building of a business development centre, skills development through housing in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements. This is a highly commendable initiative especially that a local industry is behind is.
I have also been immensely impressed by other initiatives such as youth development, improving access to public amenities such as libraries, sports facilities, scholar transportation, and the Balfour Urban Development Programme.
On building safer communities
Programme director, another area that has been of major concern to this community has also been around how the police have dealt with protests in the past. Let me assure you right now that all matters where the conduct of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been found wanting have been duly referred to the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). Those that have been victimised by the police have been visited. At least 18 cases were presented to the Public Protector. Of those, 9 were referred back for further investigation and prosecution was declined. At this juncture let me emphasise that our resolve to fight crime and to build safer communities remains resolute and steadfast, however, so also are we committed to making sure that the SAPS performs its duties in line with respect to the Constitutional rights of the citizens and relevant prescripts of our laws and regulations.
On incorporation of Balfour into Gauteng
With regard to the call for Balfour to move to Gauteng, let me announce that this matter is being attended to and government has made a decision on this matter which will be announced in due course. In fact the final pronouncement on the process of incorporating Balfour into Gauteng will soon be made to the public
Ladies and gentlemen, it can only be the prophets of doom and those who choose not to see even the most visible and obvious that indeed things are happening in this area and local government as a whole is turning the corner!!
Yet, whilst a lot has been done and a lot more continues to be done in this area and in other parts of the country, recently and over the past 17 years that an ANC-led government has been in power, there is still a lot more that needs to be done. The backlogs are many, with the resources far limited but the changes are there to see for those who will see.
Together we can do more
Dipaleseng is a true testimony to the fact that through effective cooperative governance and indeed working together we can do far more. For us to finally reach our common and shared goal and vision of building a better life for all, it is important that we make local government everybody’s business and to be a part of it, starts with you being involved with your community and making sure that the Integrated Development Programmes (IDP) reflects the priorities that your community agrees on.
The coming local government elections offer us opportunities to not only choose our leaders, but perhaps most importantly, to define our own destiny. The coming local government elections of 18 May 2011 offer us a unique opportunity to take the future into our hands and create the change we want to see in our lives, in our communities.
Let us all go in droves and vote in order to make local government work better, be accountable, responsive, effective and efficient.
Never forget that “Local Government is Your Business. Be part of it!”
Thank you.Source: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance
13 May 2011
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