Keynote address by Mpumalanga Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe delivered at the Inauguration of the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr Lindi Masina held in Secunda, Graceland
3 Sep 2011
Our host, the Speaker of Govan Mbeki Local Municipality
Executive Mayor of Gert Sibande District Municipality Cllr Kgotso Motloung
Members of the Mayoral Committee
Leaders of different political parties
Senior Managers of the Govan Municipal Council
The business community present here
The faith-based organisations
The SAPS representatives
Members of the media
Distinguished guests and all dignitaries present
Comrades and compatriots
Ladies and gentlemen
Honoured guests, I stand before you today, humbled by the privilege to be invited to address the inauguration of our comrade Councillors (Cllr) Lindi Masina, who has just been deployed by the people’s organisation, the African National Congress (ANC), to change the lives for the better of our people in this municipal area.
I am truly honoured indeed ladies and gentlemen to address tonight’s inauguration because as an organisation, and the people of this region, we have just proved that we are serious about women empowerment.
However, I must state though, that as a woman and a comrade, Cllr Masina worked hard to be where she is today. She deserves her appointment.
She was not deployed to this position simply because she is a woman, but she achieved the difficult tasks of our organisation which demanded her best, in order to win the hearts and minds of many people in this municipal area.
As a Chairperson of the ANC in our region of Gert Sibande, I congratulate Cllr Masina and wish her all the best in her efforts of changing the lives of our people for the better.
As they say, happiness does not come from doing easy work, but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
Cllr Masina is taking over as the Executive Mayor of Govan Mbeki, one of the biggest municipalities in Mpumalanga stationed in a very strategic town of Secunda.
This will demand a huge responsibility from her of ensuring that our farming communities who reside in the nearby small towns such as Kinross, Bethal, Embalenhle, Leandra, Evander, and Louis Trichard get much-deserved services under her leadership.
My message to you Honourable Mayor is, with this position, do not limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.
Please bear in mind that this is a strategic municipality, Secunda alone, boasts with a big energy and chemicals company, Sasol, which contributes enormously in terms of Growth Domestic Product [GDP].
Whilst such a company has many of our people under its employ, there are other in-direct challenges your municipality should address immediately.
Since people flock to this town for greener pastures, things like HIV and AIDS needs your involvement as the municipality. Housing has always been a contentious issue all over the country, and the municipality should concentrate on it to avoid confrontation with the citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, prior to the local government elections, some of the areas within our province were burning due to what was dubbed by many as ‘public service protests’ which saw countless municipal infrastructures vandalised.
Mostly, the confrontation was caused by the fact that as a government, we failed to give feedback on our challenges in delivering the services to our people. People ended up being frustrated and in many instances resorted to unnecessary violent protests.
Ever since the new mayors are being sworn into Office, I have always been preaching that, they should remember to interact with the people who voted them into power. We must always inform the people about our plans and give feedback especially where there are challenges.
It was unfortunate ladies and gentlemen, that the protests were mostly characterised by criminal elements. It is unacceptable that people should vandalize public property to voice their dissatisfaction. The police will do anything in their power to stabilise the situation.
I always like to quote Dr Nelson Mandela in encouraging the new councillors to ensure that they deliver the services for our people.
Please allow me to borrow from his biography where he says the following about leadership; “Lead from the front, but do not leave your base behind”
Tata Madiba continues to say: “Lead from the back, and let others believe they are in front”.
Ladies and gentlemen, let us learn from the previous mistakes, let us prioritise our people. Let them come first in anything we do for them as municipalities.
In the next two weeks, my department will hold Muni-MEC, a meeting between myself as an MEC and the municipal officials responsible for public safety.
This includes both councillors and the Members of Mayoral Committees for Public Safety. The meeting will focus on amongst others, the municipal by-laws.
By-laws are critically important in the fight against crime honoured guests, because they assist the police to be able to do their job accordingly. Unless municipalities develop these by-laws there will always be complaints about avoidable noise at our places especially at night.
Let me encourage this municipality that, as it is characterised by coal haulage network, it should not overlook establishing partnerships with business communities around here.
There are responsible successful companies who are willing to come on board and bring back to the communities through their social responsibility programmes.
I am proud to tell you that companies like Eskom have come on board to donate to my department multi-million Rands facilities to educate our learners about road safety. They donated 10 what they call Junior Traffic Training Centres which give practical understanding of road safety especially for the school children.
Last weekend, another mining giant, Anglo-American donated huge amount to the department’s Provincial Road Safety Debates where our learners engage on dialogue about traffic road safety.
The South African Breweries is also assisting us as a department in promoting responsible liquor trading and responsible drinking.
Whilst we all understand that, most municipalities have financial difficulties, such big corporates would come handy to assist us as government to change the lives of our people for the better.
It is still in my plans to engage with transport and freight companies in a dialogue to find a lasting solution in reducing road fatalities. It is scientifically proven that busses, taxis and trucks contribute up to 82 per cent on road carnages.
Although motorists needs to have a positive attitude when utilising the roads, the fact that the drivers must achieve ambitious targets, really creates more frustrations for us as a government.
I have learnt that some truck owners demand that their driver should deliver at least 60 loads per month, surely, ladies and gentlemen, that is a recipe for disaster.
When the driver immediately gets into a truck, his mind is focused on the 60 loads instead of concentrating on the road. That is why as a department we will soon launch a Special Traffic Intervention Unit.
It will be similar to the famous Tactical Response Team which belongs to the South African Police Service, but will focus in changing the notorious killer roads and change them into holy pathways.
The Unit will wear a special uniform and will be easily identified from the normal traffic officers. This is one of our efforts of reducing road fatalities in our province. It will also arrest its fellow traffic officers who are involved on corruption.
In conclusion ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say let us work hard and deliver the services for our people. Let us remember that every successful person has a painful story, and every painful story has a successful ending.
Let us work hard and absorb the pain in order for us to be remembered for what we did.
Once again, congratulations to Cllr Masina and to all other councillors sworn in today.
I thank you.
Issued by: Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison
3 Sep 2011
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