Chairperson, hon Minister; hon Deputy Minister; our guest, the Minister for Local Government and Community Development from Jamaica, Mr Noel Arscott, and his delegation; MECs; Members of Parliament; Chairperson of the SA Local Government Association, Salga; the House of Traditional Leaders; the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the CRL Commission; the Municipal Demarcation Board, MDB; the two DGs present; amakhosi; my predecessor, the former Chairperson of the Committee on Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr S L Tsenoli; and distinguished guests, when we emerged from our 53rd national conference, we emerged even more committed to the vision of a united, nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa as enshrined in the Freedom Charter.
In the 2013 celebrations of the 101st birthday of the ANC, we were given marching orders, which called upon all of us to work towards consolidating our democracy, to deepen our efforts to transform the economic patterns of the present in order to realise our vision for the future and to ensure that we place service delivery at the centre of our transformation and development agenda.
In 1972, on the occasion of the ANC's 60th anniversary, former president Oliver Tambo underscored the significance and value of the 8 January ANC statement of the National Executive Committee, NEC. He emphasised the fact that, in 1912, the leaders of the African people converged in Bloemfontein to found the nation and to become one people in order to continue with the old struggle against white colonial exploitation as one African people that spoke and acted through the ANC, which was established on that day.
Having discussed that, they reviewed the past. They proceeded to work out a strategy with regard to the struggle for the future. That's what I am going to do in my contribution to this Budget Vote today!
Sihlalo, ngivumele ngikhumbuze umphakathi wonke waseNingizimu Afrika ukuthi sibuya kuphi ngomlando wezifunda, nangomlando wohulumeni base khaya.
Kuqala ngesikhathi sobandlululo izifundazwe zazizi-4 kuphela. Kwakungabelungu kuphela ababenelungelo lokuvota. Ngonyaka we-1994 i-ANC yasikhulula saba nelungelo lokuvota, saba nezifundazwe eziyisi-9. Kwakunamahhovisi omasipala abizwa ngokuthi ama-transitional local councils.
Kuthe lapho i-ANC ibona ukuthi izinsiza azifiki kahle kubantu, yeza nohlelo lokuletha uhulumeni kubantu. Ngikhuluma nje manje sesinamawadi ayizi-4 277, omasipala abangama-278, kanye nama-proportional representation councillors, ama-PRC, angama-5 778. Lokhu kusho ukuthi sinamakhansela ayi-10 055 amele zonke izinhlangano ezweni lonke.
Sinamakomidi amawadi athatha izikhalo ngqo kubantu. Sinabasebenzi abathuthukisa umphakathi abangena indlu nendlu, ababheka inhlalonhle yabantu. Sinezinhlelo zokuqinisa amakomidi emigwaqo azoba nolwazi lwendlu nendlu. Akekho omunye uhulumeni owenza konke lokhu ngaphandle kuka hulumeni ka-ANC. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[Chairperson, allow me to remind the whole of the South African society about the history of our provinces and local government. During apartheid we only had four provinces. Only white people were allowed to vote then. In 1994 the ANC liberated us and we were granted the right to vote, and the country was divided into nine provinces. Local government offices known as traditional local councils were established.
When the ANC realised that the public did not have easy access to facilities it devised a programme to bring the government closer to the people. We have 4 277 wards as we speak, 278 municipalities and 5 778 proportional representation councillors (PRCs). This means that we have 10 055 councillors representing different political parties in the whole country.
Ward committees receive complaints directly from the public. We have officials that go from door to door to find out about the living conditions of different communities and their duty is to work towards community development. We have programmes that are aimed at empowering these committees so that they will acquire adequate knowledge about each household. No other government would do this other than that led by the ANC. [Applause.]]
The ANC-led government has made significant progress in wrestling with these deep historical injustices resulting from the apartheid rule. In a number of instances, these huge achievements have created perception stagnation as a result of the inherent trappings of the same achievements. This is because, as people witness demonstrations of government's capacity to change their lives, they engage in demonstrations, some of which are calculated to manoeuvre for the attention of government ahead of their counterparts who are also awaiting service delivery.
Local government, by its nature, is at the coalface of service delivery. Local government continues to bear the brunt of protests. The communities have realised that they can bargain with their votes and thereby expedite service delivery through attracting attention, even if it means violent protests.
The narrative of poor service delivery is now being hyped, and all sorts of opportunistic forces have been activated.
Sihlalo, ngifuna ukwenza umzekelo. Kwezinye izindawo kuyazwakala uma umphakathi ubhikisa ngenxa yokunganeliseki, kepha lokhu kubhikisa kwenza ukuthi abanezinhloso zokwenza ubugebengu basizakale. Sibonile kwezinye izindaweni obekubhikishwa kuzo ukuthi izigebengu kanye nezigilamkhuba zigcine sezisizakala; ziyalutha, zeba izinto ezitolo, zishaya abantu futhi zivimbe izimoto, okuyizinto ezisuke zingekho kuhlu lomphakathi obhikishayo lezo.
Kule nyanga ephelile, uMbasa, umphakathi waseMsukaligwa Municipality e- Warburton wabhikisha ubhikishela ukuthi ucela umasipala ufake ibhuloho labantu abahamba ngezinyawo eliphezulu ngoba umgwaqo womhlaba wonke osuka Egoli uya e-Swaziland ubhizi kakhulu. Izingane eziwela lo mgwaqo uma ziya esikoleni nezisebenzisa lo mgwaqo uma ziyokha amanzi zishayiswa izimoto bese ziyafa.
Ukubhikisha kwalo mphakathi kwakuzwakala, kepha kwenza izigilamkhuba zisizakale; zavimba izimoto zafuna imali, zathatha omakhalekhukhwini babantu, zagumba imigwaqo, futhi zamisa izimoto ezazifike kokuvakasha. Okusho ukuthi lo mbhikisho akubange kusaba umbhikisho oyimpumelelo kwazise phela lo mphakathi wawubhikishela into ezwakalayo. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[Chairperson, I wish to give an example. You can tell the difference between earnest protests in some areas and those whose sole aim is to commit criminal activities by taking advantage of the protests. We have noticed that some protests in some areas include criminal activities like looting, stealing of goods from shops, assaults on other people and blockading traffic. Those activities have nothing to do with the lists of grievances that the protests are held for.
Last month the community of Msukaligwa Municipality in Warburton protested to request the municipality to construct a skyway for pedestrians over the national road from Johannesburg to Swaziland since it is very busy. Children who cross this road on their way to school and also those that do it to fetch some water from the other side of the road are always run over by cars, resulting in their death.
The protest was for a genuine reason, but criminals took advantage of it; they blocked the traffic and demanded money from motorists, robbed people of their cellphones, dug holes in roads and blocked cars that were being used by tourists. As a result, the protest did not yield any good result, even though it was for a good reason.]
In his state of the nation address the President told the nation that the achievements of the five priorities would advance the recovery of the humanity of all South Africans and improve the quality of their lives.
The recent national social cohesion and nation-building summit, which the President initiated in response to growing levels of intolerance amongst the various groups in the country, is a response to the number of protests we are experiencing.
We have seen that public protest violence is becoming an increasing security concern and is directly linked to issues of governance and service delivery. Some have demonstrated a weakness in our capacity to engage with communities and to detect and respond to problems as they arise.
The ANC government has intervened by creating a structure that will ensure timely interventions and dedicated mechanisms to ensure an early warning system is in place with regard to the capacity and weakness of the state. Lokhu okubizwa ngokuthi i-marumo fase noma i-marumo fatshe. [That which is called "weapons down".]
A national dialogue has been proposed to discuss the violent nature of protests and marches in order to protect the rights of all people. Parliament should take the lead and invite all stakeholders to participate in that forum.
This financial year's Budget Vote should focus on instruments of public engagements. During such engagements, clear messages must be sent to the people regarding the work the ANC has successfully done since its first administration in 1994. As the ANC we must not be dislodged from celebrating our achievements.
Notwithstanding the immense challenges we face as a country and as the Cogta family, we can be justifiably proud of our achievements as we journey towards the 2030 vision of the National Development Plan, NDP, through which we have created a home where everybody feels free, yet is bound to others, and where everyone embraces their full potential. We are proud to serve under the ANC-led government that always cares.
We will make sure that we recognise excellence where it exists and build on it. We will also ensure that there is a professional and capable local government, which is driven by the imperative of a developmental state. Guided by our own ANC policies, the 1955 Freedom Charter, the 1992 ANC policy blueprint "Ready to Govern", and the 1994-2009 ANC election manifesto ...
... Siyaziqhenya namhlanje sithi ... [... today we are proud to say ...]
... together we can do more.
On 8 January 1997 former President Dr N R Mandela emphasised the issue of morality and unity:
One important task of our movement is that it should act as a forum to collective learning, in which we share experiences, learn from each other, assess what has been happening and empower each other.
He further said:
Unity is not built by bureaucratic declaration; unity is a dynamic reality that must emerge from the real empowerment of our people.
We call upon all people, wherever they are, to dedicate themselves to the collective effort of consolidating the national democratic revolution. This table is too small; I can't page through my speech easily.
The 2013 state of the nation address focused on tackling the triple challenges as a nation, and on the democratic task of all citizens. It was an address to inform and educate the nation on the internal consideration of the ANC-led government and about its unwavering commitment and systematic programme to correct the historical injustices, and to provide concrete programmes.
The correlation between the January 8 ANC NEC statement and the Sona can be found in a number of areas. One that has particular relevance for 2013 is the references that address the eradication of apartheid production relations.
Significantly, the ANC, in "Ready to Govern", states that the achievements of a genuine sense of national unity depends on all of us, working together to overcome the inequalities created by apartheid.
According to the Grant Thornton survey conducted in February 2013, 38% of medium-sized businesses said that they were affected by poor governance and service delivery, referring mainly to electricity supply, billing issues, poor roads and slow payments.
The 2012-13 to 2014-15 Medium-Term Budget Framework grapples with these issues on infrastructure challenges. The NDP interventions on funding are highlighted to support and improve infrastructure, public transport and human settlement challenges. The ANC government's priority since 1994 has been to meet the basic needs of millions of South Africans living in poverty. In response to this call, municipalities have contributed significantly in reducing infrastructure backlogs. If you were to go to Soweto now ...
... uvale amehlo. Uma usuvula amehlo ungacabanga ukuthi ukwelinye izwe. [Ihlombe.] Ziningi-ke ezinye izindawo ongaya kuzo ezifana neSoweto. Isibonelo nje, uma ungaya e-Amsterdam, lapho ngizalwa khona mina, ungabona omkhulu umehluko. Ngikhule ngihlala endlini yodaka, amanzi besiwakha esiyalwini, kepha emva konyaka we-1994 amanzi besesiwakha empompini eyibanga elingamamitha angama-500 kude nasezindlini. Ngikhuluma nje manje sekunezinkutela, ugesi, amanzi kanye nomgwaqo wetiyela. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[... and close your eyes, then when you opened them you would think that you were in another country. [Applause.] There are many other areas that have been developed like Soweto. For instance, if you could go to Amsterdam, where I was born, you would see a drastic difference. I grew up living in a mud house and we fetched our water from a spring, but after 1994 we had access to tap water. The taps were located at a distance of about 500 metres from our homes. We now have electricity and tarred roads. [Applause.]]
Chairperson, Budget Vote No 3 is aimed at improving governance across the three spheres of government in partnership with institutions of traditional leadership. The total allocation for the 2013-14 Budget Vote is R56,2 billion which, when taking into account inflation, represents a real increase of 56% from the R54,8 billion allocation of the previous financial year.
The Cogta Budget Vote consists of seven programmes. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework spending for 2013-14 constitutes a proposed appropriation to be funded from national revenue contained in the main Appropriation Bill.
In 2012-13 the portfolio committee noted that the budget for administration decreased from R205,4 million to R201,1 million. The committee then recommended that the budget be increased to accommodate approved posts.
With regard to Programme 2 - Policy Research and Knowledge Management - the committee has noted that the programme is a specialised support service to the department in the area of knowledge and policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, information, communication and business technologies with four subprogrammes and a total budget of R49,5 million.
The committee noted with concern that, in reference to last year's budget, this programme has not performed well with regard to service delivery targets relating to the formulation of legislation on Khoi-San communities in the form of the national Traditional Affairs Bill which, thus far, has been shifted to Programme 7. We are looking forward to having the Bill brought to Parliament for further processing.
Furthermore, Cogta is in the process of redefining, locating and affirming the traditional institutions of the Khoi-San communities. The amendment of the Act does not speak only to the inclusion of the Khoi-San communities, but it also includes all the previously excluded groups - including women - either by omission or by design.
The President mentioned the Bill on gender equity and women empowerment, which stipulates the 50/50 position with regard to women representation in decision-making structures whereas, with regard to the Khoi-San community, the national traditional leadership framework Act only provides for 30% women representation.
The portfolio committee also welcomes the decision taken by the ANC-led government to reopen the lodgement of land claims to accommodate all those who were dispossessed earlier than the previously identified time period of 1913. Cogta must embark on a programme to assist the traditional leaders' communities who were identified as being landless following the assessment of the state of governance of traditional institutions which my colleagues will talk more about. I would be failing in my duties if I did not touch a little bit on the national audit outcomes. The Auditor-General of South Africa has a constitutional mandate and, as the supreme audit institution of South Africa, it exists to strengthen our country's democracy by enabling oversight, accountability and governance in the public sector through auditing, thereby building public confidence.
Due to time constraints, I won't get to the figures of how many have received qualified and unqualified audit reports, but I will mainly highlight our concerns. The portfolio committee has met with the department, the MECs and the Auditor-General, and we discussed these issues in depth. However, we can not shy away from the fact that we noted with concern the regression of five municipalities that obtained clean audit outcomes in the 2010-11 financial year.
Chairperson, due to time constraints, I will move to recommendations. The portfolio committee recommends that, with all the interventions, which we welcome and support, the department should note the following recommendations.
Firstly, the department should come up with the introduction of the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Interventions Bill, which will seek to improve the regulatory environment for effective oversight on the interventions practice of national government over provincial and local government.
Secondly, in the next financial year, the department must make sure when implementing the funding model for municipalities in grades 1 to 3 that it promotes good governance and public participation by strengthening the functionality of ward committees.
Thirdly, within an incremental framework, some powers should be delegated to more effective ward committees. The ward committees should take responsibility for fixing potholes, pavements and street lights so that they can feel part of the system and own it.
Fourthly, we also recommend that there should be an insurance scheme or some other way of catering for councillors' houses and other properties that are destroyed during strikes because of the positions they occupy as councillors. We recommend that the national budget meets these costs.
Fifthly, we also recommend that there be a once-off grant for municipalities to address all the backlogs.
In conclusion, the mandate of the portfolio committee is to do oversight. We will ensure that public funds are used for the intended purposes and that funds meet the intended beneficiaries, most of whom are poor and unemployed.
I would like to thank the Minister, the Deputy Minister, all members of the portfolio committee, the director-general, Salga, the CRL Commission, the House of Traditional Leaders, the Municipal Demarcation Board, the Financial and Fiscal Commission, the Auditor-General and the provincial MECs for the good working relations displayed during our deliberations.
I also wish to congratulate the department on the improved audit opinion. In the 2010-11 financial year the department received a qualified audit opinion. In the 2011-12 financial year the department received an unqualified audit with findings.
Chairperson, the department deserves to have this budget supported, and the ANC supports the Budget Vote of Cogta. [Applause.]