Speech by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on the occasion of South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Gauteng Provincial Conference
28 Jul 2011
MEC Humphrey Mmemezi
South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Gauteng Chairperson Khorombi Dau
Host mayor, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa
Mayors and councillors
Ladies and gentlemen
It is no doubt that you came into office at a time when our province is facing a number of challenges on how best to meet the mandate that we have been given by our people following the local government elections in May. While your term has just started, we know that as the committed servants of the people, you bring with you fresh and innovative ideas that will enhance the work of government both in planning and execution of the programme of action aimed at improving the quality of life of our people.
Many may want to interpret the challenges that we encounter as adversity, or insurmountable hurdles, I would encourage you to view them as opportunities that we need to exploit for the meaningful development and prosperity of Gauteng. You will appreciate that you are peoples’ servants serving in one of the most complex but exciting provinces in our country. Your work will not only impact on the lives of the residents of Gauteng but has the real potential of influencing, in the interests of public good, the productive functioning of the local government nationally.
While acknowledging progress in addressing our key priorities, the following major challenges facing local government and communities have been identified:
- Reducing unemployment
- More access to better quality basic services
- Overcoming the legacy of apartheid spatial development so that all residents can equally enjoy the benefits of development
- Strengthening community participation
- Building effective, accountable and clean government.
In addition, Gauteng remains one of the rapidly urbanising regions in the world. As a result, multitudes of people from all over flock into our towns and cities in search of a better life. This in-migration phenomenon also brings with it numerous challenges for the province. Increasingly, the province must provide shelter, water and sanitation, electricity, job opportunities and many other basic socio-economic necessities required by new residents.
It is no secret that one of the major challenges facing municipalities in this province is the bulk infrastructure. We are working closely with all municipalities through the Premier’s Coordination Forum to finalise and approve the Integrated Provincial Bulk Infrastructure Plan and Programme.
This will ensure that municipalities when putting in place budgets for the 2011-2015, take into consideration challenges on infrastructure development.
It is our belief that in order to turn the corner, improve conditions and transform the general state of our province the only hope lies in our commitment and willingness to share a common vision; a vision that aims to revolutionise infrastructural development in Gauteng; a vision that aims to build local economies that will create more employment, decent work and sustainable livelihoods. It is a vision that will deliver quality local public services accessible by all.
It is in this context that the provincial government will take forward the Gauteng Vision 2055 Campaign which will allow the people of Gauteng to express their views and proposals on the character and future of Gauteng by 2055. The future of this province should be collectively determined by all people who passionately believe in the centrality of the province as the catalyst for change, growth and improvement in all the facet of life in South African society.
In pursuit of this vision, the focus of the provincial government in 2011/12 will be to take forward the work of the Gauteng Planning Commission so as to promote and strengthen integrated strategic and spatial planning in the short to long-term. One of the key initiatives of the Gauteng Planning Commission is the development of a long-term plan for the Gauteng City Region. It is the initiative based on the conviction that the growth and development of both the province and the municipalities is inextricably intertwined. There will be no progress for the province without the municipalities and vice versa. We operate in the same space driven by the same interest and for the same constituency.
This Planning Commission is your commission and it can only succeed if you take its ownership. We therefore need to collaborate and support one another so that we can advance the developmental agenda of government.
Linked to Gauteng Vision 2055 is the Gauteng Spatial Development Framework, which we have adopted to guide current and future infrastructure and broader urban development planning in the province. This lays the basis for a single roadmap for Gauteng’s development and effective land use management.
Reversing apartheid spatial development patterns which directly contribute to high levels of poverty and inequality in our province is therefore one of our central imperatives. We are also working on a medium to long-term Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan which will better inform infrastructure investment choices in the province and build a prosperous, equitable and socially inclusive province. I am happy that the Gauteng Planning Commission is now in full swing to drive this strategic and long term plan as well as other plans that are specifically aimed at addressing issues of a seamless governance regime in Gauteng.
In line with the Gauteng Infrastructure Master Plan we will continue in the period to 2014 to prioritise the implementation of the following flagship projects:
- Struggle heritage projects including the Women, Youth and Oliver Tambo Memorials
- The Sedibeng Sewer Network
- Stimulating the Green Economy
- The rollout of G-link
- The procurement of well-located land and 14 new mixed housing developments
- Servicing of sites and issuing title deeds to informal settlements
- Implementing the Tembisa Master Plan
- Roll-out of Maize Triangle to Metsweding and the West Rand District
- Further development of the Constitutional Hill
- Development of three freight and logistics hubs
- Johannesburg-Ethekwini High Speed Rail Link
- The development of aerotropolis linked to the OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria.
We are popular as government for crafting sound and progressive policies and yet we are always faulted for poor coordination between the spheres of government including poor monitoring and evaluation. In an attempt to correct this, the Gauteng Provincial Government established the Premier’s Coordination Forum which functions as the joint structure that receives reports on all our major projects and monitors progress.
In order for us to be able to track and monitor the work that we are supposed to be doing and the work that we have achieved, it is therefore in our interests to respect processes and structures that are in place for that purpose.
While we encourage and support the implementation of the Municipal Turnaround Strategy to improve the operations of our municipalities, we must resist the temptation to deviate from the notion of coordinated central planning or gravitate towards an unpalatable situation of planning in silos. It is critical to ensure that municipal plans talk to provincial plans that will ultimately feed into the national priorities.
The achievements we have recorded, in the provision of housing, water and sanitation, electrification, health, education, and economic stability under democratic rule would have not been possible without those sound intergovernmental relations (IGR) between all spheres of government. In the spirit of cooperative governance, we were always able to appreciate the role each sphere has to play in order to make local government work better.
In order for us to remain relevant to our constituencies, it is critical that we deepen and strengthen democratic structures that give our people a voice. We must ensure that a void and a social distance do not develop between us as community leaders and the people we represent.
The ward committees and other legal structures at the local level must be kept alive through information sharing. This will assist us in walking hand in hand with our people. Everything starts at street and ward committee level and if we do not get our ducks in a row at that critical stage, we run the risk of not being understood by the same people who put their faith in us to represent them.
I therefore urge all of you to work with and not against, support and comply with all the structures that are aimed at making us better. Accountability and oversight structures need not be seen as monsters that are out to get us. They have been created and put in place to ensure that both the administration and councillors are held to account on the delivery of services to communities.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate all of you for accepting the task of working for the people of Gauteng. It is the indication of your commitment in changing the conditions under which our people live. I look forward to more of productive interaction with you. I am your servant and it is only through mutual respect that we can take Gauteng to unimaginable heights.
For more information contact:
Cell: 082 602 3532
Source: Gauteng Provincial Government
Issued by: Gauteng Office of the Premier
28 Jul 2011
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