Speech

Department of Local Government Budget Speech 2012

28 March 2012

Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Premier of the Western Cape,
Provincial Cabinet Colleagues,
Members of the Provincial Legislature,
Executive Mayors,
Municipal Managers,
Partners in Local Government,
Invited Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr Speaker,

I would like to present to the House today two roads that lead to the future. The one road is the wide and easy one that leads to disappointment. The other road - the more difficult one - is the one that will take us to our destination.

The easy road is the road of quick fixes and flashy launches. It is the road where decisions are taken for short-term results that get lots of attention.

The harder road is the one that will lead us to success. It is the road where we make sacrifices today so that we achieve our aims tomorrow. It is the road of good governance, sound administration, thorough planning, and meaningful communication. Without these, there can be no improvement in municipal service delivery. It is the road we must choose because it is the right one.

Let me give an example. It is very easy, with all the pressure that comes from the people who elected us, to satisfy their needs in ways that are easy to see. It is tough to say, "We must rather invest in our sewerage works even though few people will see it, but it is the right thing to do." These are the tough choices that we must make.

In her State of the Province Address, the Premier said that we must join in the fight against poverty. My department will contribute to this by making sure that municipalities are doing their job and that people have access to government services. But it is a long road and a tough road, and there are no shortcuts.

The Premier also said that we cannot walk this road alone. We must help each other clear obstacles out of the way and we must encourage each other along the way. It is better, and it is necessary, that we walk this road together.

Functional Municipalities

Mr Speaker,

We must make the tough choices if we want our municipalities to work. We need compliance to legislation, a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, and robust infrastructure.

Sommige munisipaliteite mag dink dat hierdie nie so belangrik is nie, maar sonder dit is ons munisipaliteite op die pad na nêrens. Drie munisipaliteite het tot op hede oudit opinies ontvang wat gekwalifiseerd is en by vier munisipaliteite is die oudit nog nie voltooi nie, omdat die Jaarlikse Finansiële State baie laat ingedien is. Om aan die behoeftes van hulle inwoners gehoor te gee moet hierdie munisipaliteite aan die basiese beginsels van goeie administrasie voldoen.

Op hierdie pad wat ons reis, moet ons elkeen verantwoordelikheid neem om die regte besluite te maak. Die mees belangrikste besluit wat 'n Raad maak is die aanstelling van hul Munisipale Bestuurder.

Sedert die Munisipale Stelsels Wysigingswet op 5 Julie 2011 in effek getree het, het ek Rade aangemoedig om die regte besluite te neem. My amptenare is gestuur om elke onderhoud proses te oorsien en het terugvoering aan die Nasionale Minister van Samewerkende Regering oor elke aanstelling gegee. Maar Mnr Speaker, ek kan slegs aan die nasionale Minister vertel of die regte prosesse tydens die aanstellings gevolg is, en of die aangestelde kandidaat die minimum kwalifikasies het.

Die Raad besluit wie die mees geskikte persoon vir die werk is. Die mees geskikte persoon is iemand wat bekwaam is en teen die Raad sal opstaan en sê dat 'n besluit onwettig is. Dit vereis wysheid om die regte persoon aan te stel.

I am pleased to report that, out of our 30 municipalities, 17 have already appointed Municipal Managers to five-year terms. This is a great contribution to the stability of those municipalities.

But we will only be able to say that we have succeeded when changes in political leadership in a municipality do not automatically lead to changes in Municipal Managers.

Councils are also in the process of appointing Executive Managers who report to the Municipal Manager. I am sending my officials to every one of these interviews also, and I am confident that councils will appoint managers who can do the job.

With good senior managers in place, a Council can then focus on making sure the key pillars are in place: ie good governance, effective administration, sound planning, and continuous communication with residents.

Sound Governance, Sound Administration

Many municipalities still do not have one set of by-laws for all the towns that previously had separate councils. My department will be assisting these municipalities to develop a Municipal Code that contains one coherent set of by-laws. We will also help municipalities to provide a checklist that will list the key laws and regulations with which municipalities must comply. This compliance model will help municipalities to monitor if they are complying with the more than one hundred laws that apply to them.

Fraud and corruption can undermine all of the gains that we have made under democracy. We will support municipalities to raise awareness around fraud and corruption and to put proper systems in place to prevent them. My department will be working closely with the Hanns Seidel Foundation to create awareness about the protection that the law gives to whistle-blowers.

Some councils may think that developing a Municipal Code, adopting and enforcing by-laws, complying with legislation, and raising awareness of fraud are not so important. But this is the difficult road I am talking about: We must pay attention to the details that contribute to a sound, effective administration.

Good administration is also needed with assessing and collecting property rates. If a municipality makes a mistake in interpreting the Municipal Property Rates Act, it can pay a very high price when it is legally challenged. I want to protect municipalities from this, and so I asked my department to produce a user-friendly property rates guide for municipalities. I am proud to say that this has been completed and that it provides a detailed, accessible manual that will guide municipalities through all the legal requirements.

'n Eiendomsbelasting fokusgroep is deur my span gevestig wat op 'n kwartaallikse basis vergader. Die doel van die fokusgroep, wat hoofsaaklik bestaan uit amptenare in munisipaliteite met eiendomsbelasting kennis, is om algemene probleme te bespreek, oplossings te identifiseer en opleidings aktiwiteite voor te stel. Die eerste vergadering is in Februarie 2012 gehou en was goed bygewoon en entoesiasties ondersteun deur die persone teenwoordig.

In the past year, my department's contribution to establishing sound governance and administration has been significant. We provided a 24/7 Helpdesk to support councils before and during their first council meetings, and sent our senior managers to attend them. We have given legal advice on an ongoing basis to all municipalities on a range of council issues.

We have rolled out three phases of councillor training. In the first phase, we assisted SALGA in the roll-out of their Councillor Induction course. In the second phase, we provided training to all councillors in areas such as oversight, delegations, rules of order and procurement. Ons is nou in die derde fase waar in diepte opleiding verskaf word oor begrotings, finansiële en ruimtelike beplanning, behuising en die bestuur van noodddienste. Raadslede moet weet wat hulle moet doen en wat hulle nie mag doen nie en hierdie opleiding verskaf 'n uitstekende basis daarvoor.

Mnr Speaker, ons moet orde in ons Rade hê. Daar was in die laaste jaar baie Raadsvergaderings wat op chaos uitgeloop het. My departement sal, 'n standaard verordening oor die reëls van orde in Rade finaliseer, wat die gedrag van Raadslede beskryf en wat lei tot oortredings as Raadslede nie die reëls volg nie. Ons sal munisipaliteite bystaan om dit tot hul spesifieke behoeftes aan te pas en om dit dan te implementeer.

Ons het die Wes-Kaapse Wet op Voordele en Immuniteite van Raadslede op 13 Desember 2011 geëndosseer. Hierdie wet wys nie slegs voordele en immuniteite aan Raadslede uit nie, maar dit stuur ook die boodskap dat daar gevalle mag wees wanneer die onwettige besluite van Raadslede nie beskerming sal geniet nie. Werkswinkels op hierdie nuwe wetgewing sal deur die departement aangebied word.

Daar is tye wanneer 'n Raad die maklike pad kies. Bestuurders word aangestel wat nie die werk kan doen nie en wat nie in die pad staan van onwettige besluite nie. Ek het al dikwels uiting gegee aan my frustrasie met die beperkte magte wat ek as provinsiale minister het om effektief tussenbeide te kan tree voordat 'n situasie agteruitgaan tot die punt waar die inwoners ly. Met die Grondwet as basis, sal wetgewing deur my departement opgestel word wat duidelik uitstippel watter aksies in sulke situasies geneem kan word.

Dit is tyd om hierdie blatante minagting van die wet deur sommige Rade stop te sit.

Sound Planning

The second pillar of a functional municipality is sound planning. If we look at the failures of municipalities over the past ten years, it is because of either poor governance or poor planning.

A municipality's Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is the "super plan" that builds on many other plans like the Comprehensive Municipal Infrastructure Plan, Integrated Transport Plan, and Disaster Management Plan.

Many IDPs are improving on their strategies but are weak on implementation. My department has made huge strides in this area in the past two years. We have put 17 learners through the six sessions of another IDP Learnership. We have obtained R10 million for five municipalities to implement catalytic projects that support their IDPs.

The most exciting development has been the active participation of provincial and national departments in municipal IDP processes. Provincial departments assessed municipal IDPs together and their assessments were shared with municipalities. Provincial and national departments and state-owned enterprises participated in the IDP Indabas, where all three spheres of government shared their budgets and plans for the coming year in every district. I am pleased that sector departments in the Western Cape are rallying around Integrated Development Planning. As one Municipal Manager recently said, "This year's IDP Indaba has instilled in me confidence that provincial departments have actually read our IDPs."

In die volgende jaar sal daar op hierdie werk verdiep en uitgebrei word. Ons nooi meer nasionale departemente en instellings, onder staatsbesit uit, om aan die assessering en GOP Indaba prosesse deel te neem, en ons sal die kwaliteit van insette van alle deelnemers verbeter. Voorlopige GOPs sal geanaliseer word en nie die finale GOPs soos in die verlede nie. Dit sal verseker dat munisipaliteite kommentare kan bywerk voordat hulle hul finale GOPs aanneem.

Goeie beplanning word by munisipale infrastruktuur benodig. Mnr Speaker, die provinsie het sy posisie behou as die beste presteerder op die Munisipale Infrastruktuur Toelaag (MIT) uitgawe in die land, wat 99.85% vir die 2010/2011 finansiële jaar was. Dit verteenwoordig 185 projekte tot die waarde van R311 miljoen wat onderweg is of wat voltooi is. Hierdie prestasie is as gevolg van die feit dat ons ingenieurs elke munisipaliteit wat sukkel om sy MIT fondse te spandeer, besoek en aan hulle bystand bied.

Mnr Speaker, ek het u verlede jaar vertel van ons water meterprogram. Ons het tydens die afgelope jaar twee munisipaliteite bygestaan om meer as 1 000 water meters te identifiseer wat of nie reg gewerk het nie of wat nie aan die finansiële stelsel geskakel was nie. Hierdie munisipaliteite kon nie hierdie meters op hul finansiële bestuurstelsels laai nie en kon dus nie inkomste insamel wat aan hulle geskuld was nie. Tesame met Provinsiale Tesourie, verskaf ons intensiewe bystand vir vier munisipaliteite om hul inkomste in die komende jaar te vermeerder.

Ons het die opleiding van waterproses beheerders voltooi en dit was baie suksesvol. Saam met die Ontwikkelings Bank van Suidelike Afrika en die Universiteit Stellenbosch, het 149 mense suksesvol die agt-module kursus voltooi. Dit is 149 mense wat nou meer vaardighede het en water en afval water behandelingswerke kan bestuur. In die komende jaar, in samewerking met die Plaaslike Regering Seta en die Ontwikkelings Bank van Suidelike Afrika, sal ons 29 elektriese vakmanne in verskeie modules oplei in voorbereiding vir hul praktiese Handelstoetse.

My department will also provide direct technical support to municipalities. We have appointed more engineers and also have four highly experienced engineers from the Development Bank of Southern Africa. They will spend almost all their time assisting municipal officials with planning and technical advice.

Disaster planning is one of the most neglected areas in government, which is why the Provincial Disaster Management Centre has focused on this. In the past year, we assisted the provincial Department of Health and the Airports Company of South Africa to develop disaster management plans for the hazards for which they are responsible. We also assisted six municipalities to compile their IDP Disaster Management Chapters, which identify the key risks in the municipalities and the measures that must be taken to reduce these risks.

Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that our long-awaited video wall has been installed at the Provincial Disaster Management Centre. At minimal cost, the centre now has a high-tech system that receives data and information from various sources, such as Working on Fire, and can feed this into its databank and display it on our screens. This video wall will enhance the effective coordination of disasters as well as special events such as the Argus Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathon.

Good planning is also the basis for effective fire-fighting. Before a fire starts, we must find out where it is mostly likely to start and place our airplanes at the closest airfield. We must have an Incident Command System that identifies the role of every stakeholder involved, and there are many stakeholders: ie Cape Nature, Working on Fire, The District Municipalities and the Metro and The SA National Defence Force. Before the fire season began, we developed such a joint plan with our stakeholders.

Using 24 aircraft provided for our fire season by national government, the plan was effective. We had 78 fires but were able to respond to all of them occurring during daytime within one hour of our assistance being requested. Although it was a bad fire season, with 14 large fires, I am pleased that our thorough planning and excellent partnerships have resulted in limiting the loss of life and damage to property. I would like to thank national government for their contribution in walking this road with us.

Like the Premier, I would like to salute the two fallen heroes of the last fire-fighting season, namely Callie Muller and Terry Joubert.

Mr Speaker, we cannot go wrong if we get all of this planning right. Councils often don't want to spend money on such things because it does not make headlines. But if they don't, they will face a huge problem in the future.

Voortdurende Kommunikasie

Mnr Speaker, my span was hard aan die werk om seker te maak dat munisipaliteite en inwoners voortdurend met mekaar praat. Ons het inleidingsopleiding aan amper alle wykskomitees in die Overberg en Sentrale Karoo Distrik uitgerol en sal drie ander distrikte in die volgende paar maande klaarmaak. Ons het ons Wykskomitee Verantwoordbare en Kommunikasie Model aan alle munisipaliteite versprei en het die model met beamptes en Raadslede in werkswinkels bespreek.

Ons het ses munisipaliteite gehelp om hul kommunikasie strategieë en implementeringsplanne te verbeter of ontwikkel. En ons finaliseer nog 'n opname in openbare deelname en het die resultate teruggevoer aan die ses munisipaliteite wat in die vorige jaar geïdentifiseer is.

Ontwikkeling is 'n moeilike pad wanneer daar nie genoeg hulpbronne is nie en ons moet die hele tyd met mekaar praat om mekaar se behoeftes en beperkings te verstaan.

Beating Poverty

Mr Speaker, I believe that the biggest challenges our country faces are poverty and inequality. People who are poor and have no job and have no real prospects of ever getting a job, lose hope, and when people lose hope, they have nothing to lose. We must make sure that we never end up in a place where our people give up hope.

Die afgelope jaar is die aantal Mobiele Thusongs verdubbel. Hierdie mobiele Thusongs lewer 'n aantal regeringsdienste in een landelike plek, oor 'n paar dae. Mnr Speaker, dit sou 'n lang tyd neem vir my om al die regeringsvennote te noem wat hierdie pad saam met ons stap, maar ek wil graag vir SASSA, die nasionale Departemente van Binnelandse Sake en Arbeid, en die provinsiale Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling noem.

Ons het die Mobiele Thusongs van 12 tot 24 verdubbel en ons het die aantal mense wat bereik is van 12 000 tot 31 707 vermeerder. Ons het meer nasionale departemente en agentskappe gehad wat by die Mobiele Thusong program aangesluit het as ooit tevore, bv Statistiek Suid-Afrika, SARS, en die CCMA is sommige van die agentskappe wat by ons aangesluit het. Ek nooi al die mense in hierdie Huis om na ons volgende Mobiele Thusong te kom sodat u kan sien hoe hierdie een-stop mobiele winkel dienste voorsien. Omdat mense toegang tot regeringsdienste het, het hulle toegang tot programme wat hul armoede kan verminder.

Daar is baie moeite gedoen om te verseker dat ons Thusong Sentrums effektief is. 'n Provinsiale volhoubaarheids plan is gefinaliseer wat munisipaliteite vertel hoe om hul sentrums finansieël en administratief te bestuur. Bystand word aan 14 munisipaliteite gebied om huurooreenkomste met regeringsdepartemente te sluit. 'n Groot struikelblok tot nou toe was die befondsing vir die onderhoud van die sentrums. 25 Thusong Bestuurders het twee blokke van die geakkrediteerde Junior Bestuursontwikkeling Program by Kromme Rhee voltooi.

Our goal is to have one fixed Thusong Centre in every local municipality, and we are on track. The Robertson, Prince Albert and Paarl East Centres are almost completed, and construction on the centre in Mossel Bay will start next year. We are assisting Cape Agulhas, Kannaland and Berg River Municipalities with the planning of their Centres.

Our goal this year was to develop a Thusong Location Plan for one district. Mr Speaker, we have developed Location Plans for every district, and we will begin with implementation next year. What this means in practice is that by 2014, 85% of the residents of this province will have had access to a Thusong Zone, Centre, Satellite, Mobile or Extension Service at least once in the year.

You know about our CDW programme, but you may not be aware that the CDW programme is the reason that our Thusong Mobile Programme is so successful. The CDWs inform people that a mobile is coming and help to organise and manage the mobile while it is under way. This is in addition to the continuous work that CDWs are doing through their information workshops and community projects and government service referrals. A large part of the services that CDWs perform is to assist people to complete application forms for government departments. I am pleased to say that the CDW Programme is meeting or exceeding its Annual Performance Plan targets for this year.

In addition, Mr Speaker, I am making the Community Work Programme (CWP) one of the flagship programmes of the department. We have only three CWP sites in the Western Cape right now which each provide up to 1 000 jobs to unemployed people for two days a week for a year. Next year, this will increase to eight sites, which will provide employment to up to 8 000 people. The sites in the Western Cape will focus on two goals, which are to improve our schools and prevent informal settlement fires. The exciting thing about this programme is that it skills people and then lets them apply their new skill for the benefit of the community. After one year, they have a qualification and a job reference on their CV. This, Mr Speaker, will provide hope to 8 000 people and improve schools and informal settlements for many more.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, I have only listed a few of the contributions of my Department in the past year, and there are many more:

Our pool of expertise has provided performance management support to Stellenbosch Municipality and Langeberg Municipality, change management support to Saldanha Bay Municipality, and organisational design support to Cape Winelands District, Drakenstein, Bitou, and Prince Albert Municipalities.

Our CDWs supported many community projects, including a food garden and soup kitchen in De Doorns, a vegetable garden at a primary school, an initiative to start a honey bee-keeping business, a sewing project in Kliprand, and 25 backyard chicken farm projects.

The CDWs also provided information sessions on Housing Consumer Education, teenage pregnancy, "Financial Smarts", the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, (PAJA) and many other topics. A total of three hundred such sessions were facilitated across the province reaching more than 4 000 people.

Eleven students have been given municipal bursaries and have started their studies.

We have developed a user-friendly municipal infrastructure financing guideline, and have completed financial assessments of five municipalities which need to finance large bulk infrastructure projects.

We conducted disaster assessments for the Avian Influenza and for the floods that took place in Eden District in June 2011, and conducted a detailed debriefing on the Eden / Central Karoo drought of 2009-2011.

We have trained 25 people in urban search and rescue operations, and they can be deployed elsewhere in South Africa if the need arises.

We assessed the Disaster Management Plans of 15 municipalities.

Mr Speaker, I believe we all want the same thing. We all want to live lives that we value. We all want to live in a country of peace and of prosperity. But we cannot take shortcuts if we want to get there. We must choose the road of sacrifice, responsibility, and old-fashioned hard work. I ask all of you in the House today to walk this road with me.