Address by Mr Andries Nel, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, at the launch of the Municipal Demarcation Board`s Ward Delimitation Consultative Process at the Gamalakhe Sports and Leisure Centre in KwaZulu-Natal
9 December 2014
Chairperson, and members of the MDB
Members of Parliament, and the Provincial Legislatures
Mayors, Speaker, members of Municipal Councils, and Municipal Managers.
Deputy Chairperson and representatives of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
Deputy Chairperson of the FFC
Representatives of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA),
Officials of all three spheres of government
Members of the local communities present
Member of the media
Fellow South Africans,
Good Day to you all.
Thank you for inviting us to address this important event. We would like to convey the best wishes and support of Min Pravin Gordhan, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Ward delimitation is at the beginning of the road leading to the to 2016 Local Government Elections in which we will elect councillors to serve us for a term of 5 years.
This is very important because the ward is the basic building block of our system of local government.
The Municipal Demarcation Board`s consultation process on the delimitation of ward boundaries starts today. Through public meetings in all metropolitan and district municipalities people will have the opportunity to say how they would like to see their ward boundaries.
One of many factors that make a good municipality is community satisfaction.
People must be able to see that their councillors and municipal officials care for them are working hard for them, and that their councils are responsive to their needs.
Since 1994 we have made tremendous progress. In September this year StatsSA released its non-financial census of local government. Services rendered by municipalities have reduced poverty. Basic water services are provided to 11.8 million households, with 5.3 million receiving free basic services. Ten million consumers were receiving sewerage and sanitation from municipalities in South Africa and 31,1% of these consumers had access to free basic sewerage and sanitation.
Hard working municipal councillors and employees have contributed to these achievements. They demonstrate that municipalities exist to serve the people; people do not exist to serve municipalities.
However, not all is well and much remains to be done.
At the Presidential Local Government Summit in September this year we said that a third of our municipalities are doing well, a third are doing fairly well but are experiencing challenges, and a third are not doing well - and are, in fact dysfunctional.
At this summit the national, provincial and local spheres of government committed to working in a co-ordinated and collaborative manner to improve and strengthen our municipalities.
The Back to Basics approach is based on five principles: Putting People First and Engaging with the Community; Delivering Basic Services; Good Governance; Sound; Financial Management; Building Capabilities
Priority 1: For those municipalities in a dysfunctional state the objective is to get them to perform at the very least the basic functions of local government.
This will be achieved through the enforcement of current policies and legislation, systematically managing their performance and accountability, and ensuring that there are consequences for underperformance.
Minimum performance requirements include ensuring the proper functioning of council structures and council processes, the provision of basic services, and the appointment of competent staff these are non-negotiable;
Priority 2: For those municipalities that are functional but are not doing enough in critical areas of service, a support programme will be developed to progress to a higher path.
Here the focus will be on building strong municipal administrative systems and processes, and to ensure that administrative positions are filled with competent and committed people whose performance is closely monitored.
The oversight system for local government will be improved through creating real-time monitoring systems.
Measures will be taken to ensure that municipalities engage properly with their communities.
One such mechanism is ward committees. These committees have been established to bring local government closer to the people and to give them a say in government. As we have said, the ward is the basic unit of our system of local government.
However, in many cases, instead of serving the best interest of the community from which they are elected, some ward committee members have other agendas that are not community centred. This must stop!
Ward Committees must be active. They must keep a record of and attend to community complaints though the ward councillor. They must table proposals and plans to address the needs and priorities of the ward. They must provide feedback on the programmes of the municipality that impact on the ward.
Priority 3: Municipalities that are performing well will be incentivized by giving them greater flexibility and control over their resources and grants, and encourage them to move beyond the basics and transform the local space economy and integrate and densify thei communities to improve sustainability.
The Integrated Urban Development Framework and the National Spatial Development Framework will be implemented to ensure effective alignment of national economic, environment and social programmes with those of the municipalities; and
Priority 4: There will be a targeted and vigorous response to corruption and fraud, and a zero tolerance approach to ensure that these practices are rooted out.
Supply chain management practices in municipalities will be closely scrutinized.
Where corruption and mismanagement have been identified, we will not hesitate to make sure these are decisively dealt with through provisions such as asset forfeiture and civil claims.
CoGTA and its stakeholder partners will also work to change practices in the private sector and enlist the support of civil society to change the national morality.
In many ways the Ugu District Municipality is an example of what we mean by Back to Basics.
The municipality has worked hard to eradicate the rural water supply backlogs through the installation of new water infrastructure and other upgrades to meet the current water demand and also to eliminate water interruptions caused by aged infrastructure.
I want to congratulate the District Municipality in that it has reached a milestone with water provision within the district by increasing access to basic water to 83 percent of its population and a number of local municipalities with 100% access to sanitation.
Currently this municipality comprise of six local municipalities. This will be reduced to four from the date of the next local elections. It is expected that this will further enhance the effectiveness of the municipality.
In this regard, in addition to the Back to Basics measures outlined above we are exploring whether or not some municipalities should be redemarcated as a means of improving their functionality and viability.
A framework to assess the functionality and viability of municipalities is being finalised, and preliminary findings indicate that the boundaries of a number of municipalities should be redetermined.
A discussion in this regard with the MECs responsible for local government in the provinces still needs to take place, whereafter a request in terms of section 22(1)(b) of the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, 1998 (Act No. 27 of 1998) will be made to the Municipal Demarcation Board (the Board), should it be necessary.
Before concluding I want to say a few words about the Integrated Urban Development Framework and the burning issue of ensuring radical spatial transformation in South Africa, - something central to the work of the MDB.
Six out of every ten South Africans live in urban areas. By 2030 this is expected to rise to seven out of ten. By 2050, 80 percent of the South African population will live in urban areas by 2030.
Despite significant service delivery and development gains since 1994, South Africa`s cities and towns continue to be shaped by the Apartheid legacy of racial segregation, poverty, and exclusion from social and economic opportunities.
The National Development Plan says that by 2030 South Africa should observe meaningful and measurable progress in reviving rural areas and in creating more functionally integrated, balanced and vibrant urban settlements.
But for this to happen the country must: clarify and relentlessly pursue a national vision for spatial development; sharpen the instruments for achieving this vision; [and] build the required capabilities in the state and among citizens.
The Integrated Urban Development Framework recently approved by Cabinet for public consultation responds to the NDP`s vision by setting as our national goal: Liveable, safe, resource-efficient cities and towns that are socially integrated, economically inclusive and globally competitive, where residents actively participate in urban life.
Importantly, this vision recognises that South Africa has different types of cities and towns, which have different roles and requirements. As such, the vision has to be interpreted and pursued in differentiated and locally relevant ways.
To achieve this transformative vision four overall strategic goals are set:
To ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices.
To harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development.
To enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work togetherto achieve social integration.
To forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas.
These goals will be implemented through eight key policy levers based on an understanding that:
spatial planning forms the basis for achieving integrated urban development,
integrated transport that informs
targeted investments into integrated human settlements, underpinned by
integrated infrastructure network systems and (5) efficient land governance, which all together can trigger
economic diversification and inclusion, and
empowered communities, which in turn will demand
deep governance reform to enable and sustain all of the above.
We believe that the IUDF marks a new deal for South African cities and towns and we look forward to working with the MDB to implement it.
In conclusion, we thank the MDB for the work that it is doing. We call on all South Africans to participate in the consultation process towards shaping their wards, the basic units of local government.
Your participation in this process is as important as your vote during the 2016 municipal elections.
I thank you.