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SPEECH NOTES BY DORAH MATIKINCA, DA SHADOW MEC FOR CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, COMMENTING ON THE CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE & TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON BUDGET VOTE NO. 7 – 03 JUNE 2015 

BY Nokonwaba Matikinca MPL, DA Shadow MEC for Local Government & Traditional Affairs

 

“Back to Basics” strategy only a talk show.

 

 

  • Putting people first, and not party politics and favouritism can accelerate service delivery.
  • The DA believes in Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity, hence it is against any corrupt activities, but giving people a fair and equal opportunity.

 

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Premier, Members of the Executive, Honourable Members, Traditional Leaders and Honourable Guests, I greet you all!

Honourable Speaker, in supporting the report, let me take this opportunity to applaud the Honourable MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for his open door policy, and for his commitment when it comes to addressing issues affecting the people on the ground.

I will mention a few examples where he went out of his way to make sure that people do get what is due to them, and rise above party politics.

  • The stability he brought at Bhongweni, Ward 31 in Buffalo City when he visited together with MEC Marawu, after the people of that area took to the streets, burning down the Eskom infrastructure and blockading the streets.  The situation there is now stable, that is what we call cooperative governance.
  • Again the issue of Esigidini, Ward 4 in Mount Ayliff where through the MEC’s intervention, people now are connected to the long standing infrastructure and now they have electricity.

Siyiqhwabela izandla ke le ntsebenziswano.

 

Kubalulekile ke Somlomo Obekekileyo ukuba ndithi “working with Democratic Alliance we can do more”.

 

But, Honourable Speaker, a lot still needs to be done, all is not well in almost all the municipalities of our province.  The Back to Basics strategy needs to be implemented, and not just be talked about.

 

 

My understanding of “back-to-basics” is that it is not only about good audit reports and about physical support, but it is also managing performance, ensuring and empowering citizens to hold government accountable by giving them basic tools by which they can hold their municipalities to account and measure whether they are living up to their promises.

 

 

Now all the 45 municipalities need to be introduced to that kind of culture, and not only the 13 that have been dubbed dysfunctional.

Honourable Speaker, When the President was speaking during the Presidential Local Government Summit on “Back to Basics” he said, and I quote “The core services that local government provides include, clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity, shelter, waste removal and roads are basic human rights, essential components of the right to dignity enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights” close quote.

 

 

This is the part that our municipalities do not seem to understand. Please, Honourable MEC reiterate this to them, our cities and towns are going down the drain.

 

Part of this strategy is building capable institutions and administrations, now, how does one explain a situation where a Municipal Manager at Gariep just refuses to declare a vacancy of a PR councillor in that Municipality, simply because it is a DA vacancy?  Kuzokusetyenzwa nini?

 

When are we going to get leadership in our municipalities that is prepared to serve the nation, and not necessarily their political parties?

Honourable Speaker, we therefore appeal to the Honourable MEC to put his foot down and create an environment where the public representatives and officials are doing what they are employed to do, put the people first, and not their organisations and egos first.

The President went on to say, and I quote “Poor record of service delivery, and functions such as fixing potholes, collecting refuse, maintaining public places or fixing street lights, are not performed, while most of the necessary resources to render these functions or maintain the systems are available.  

 

 

The basic mechanisms to perform these functions are often not in place.  It is in these municipalities that we are failing our people dramatically and where we need to be intervening urgently in order to correct the decay in the system”, close quote.

Reports on piling waste, sewerage running down the streets, parks turning into forests, deep potholes, illegal occupation of RDP houses etc. is an order of the day.

 

 

Most of our municipalities fit this description very well.  Needless to mention that they also fit the description of responding slowly or inadequately to service delivery challenges perfectly.  This attitude in turn links to the breakdown of trust in the institution and councillors. Service delivery protests are evidence of such behaviour.

 

This clearly shows that Back to Basics currently is only a talk show.

 

The ratepayers in municipality have resorted in:

  • Cutting the parks that belong to the municipality for the fear of:
    • o   Health hazards
    • o   Safety, as the grass is easily hiding criminals
    • o   Lowering the value of their homes
    • Patching roads that are supposed to be done by the municipality.
    • Collecting their own trash, as against being collected by the municipality.

I am also of the understanding that another reason for this strategy is to harmonise relations between Traditional Leaders and municipalities so as to advance development and service delivery. One will agree with me that not all the so called “functional” municipalities enjoy these relationships.

 

Honourable Speaker, one other thing that will need serious attention is that, apart from being unable to service the very people who voted for them, our municipalities continue to give opportunity and wealth to the connected few.When are the municipalities going to stop giving jobs to pals, comrades and friends, bypassing the correct tender processes as it was the case with the R631 million ADM contract to Siyenza?  The Democratic Alliance believes in Fairness, and thus will never award such a huge tender to just the connected individuals.  We are a party that gives opportunity to all, and as such the scandalous awarding of such a tender to friends and not on merit, will never happen in the government of the Democratic Alliance.

 

The fact of the matter is that this awarding of R631 million contract to few individuals is extremely serious.  It affects directly the efforts to realise a new and a better society.  The DA will never allow a few connected individuals to flash around in expensive cars bought by taxpayers money, whilst the rest of the society is living below poverty line.

 

The DA government will make sure that those associated with decision makers, or should I say “politically connected” are subject to the same values and rules as the rest of other people.

 

It will never be under the DA government that those who have access to state resources will simply accumulate instant wealth and riches.

 

Honourable Premier and Honourable MEC, through you Madam Speaker it is your call, amasi abekwe elangeni.  2016 is just 12 months to come.

 

I thank you.

 June 03, 2015
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