Minister Anton Bredell Budget Vote Speech 2017
Speech by Anton Bredell
Minister of Local Government Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
On the Occasion of the 2017
Vote 14 – Local Government
on 31 March 2017
Lede van die wetgewer
Departementshoofde en genooide gaste,
Dames en Here
Die kernwaardes van die Wes-Kaapse Department van Plaaslike Regering sluit in bevoegdheid, integriteit, verantwoordbaarheid en Innovasie. As dit kom by innovasie is hierdie departement besig om die ligte uit te skiet. Ek wil jul vir ‘n oomblik neem op ‘n kort toer van die hoogtepunte.
Ons het oor die afgelope twee jaar ‘n projek begin om aan elke munisipaliteit in die Wes-Kaap met die uitsondering van die stad Kaapstad, ‘n gestandardiseerde webwerf te voorsien wat aan hul gemeenskap al die nodige inligting kan verskaf wat nodig is om hul lewens te verryk. Nie elke munisipaliteit hoef dié diens aan te neem nie en sommiges bedryf steeds hul eie webwerwe. Daar is egter reeds agtien munisipaliteite uit die 30 in die Wes-Kaap wat dié nuwe webwerwe het en self bestuur tot groot sukses. Dit is een bewys van hoe ernstig ons is oor kommunikasie en interaksie met ons gemeenskappe.
Om ons demokrasie te versterk moet ons gemeenskappe betrek word en betrokke voel by hoe hul munisipaliteite bestuur word. Ons in regering moet luister na wat ons mense daarbuite sê. As ons egter nie maniere ontwikkel om mekaar te bereik nie, sal dit moeilik wees om mekaar te hoor.
That is not where our innovation ends.
Three weeks ago we got the horrific news of a devastating tragic fire that destroyed a large part of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. Around 12 000-15 000 people were rendered homeless and three lives were lost. Across the province that weekend in total nine lives were tragically lost, some of them children.
This has once again emphasized the need for measures to curb these tragedies and I am proud to say that this department has in fact been doing ground-breaking proactive work to address this scourge. This department through its disaster management unit led by Mr. Colin Deiner, is driving an innovative smoke alarm initiative with the aim of saving lives particularly in our informal settlements. We have been clear from the start of this project that something different needs to be done and the plans in place to date are not working well enough.
We as a government must do everything in our power to provide safer and better living conditions for our communities. While we know smoke alarms cannot save everyone, we are 100% convinced that this project will save thousands of lives once it is thoroughly rolled out. I am very happy to announce here that we are currently rolling out 2000 smoke alarms with the help of Santam in the informal community of Wallacedene. This is our second pilot program and we plan to expand on this program going forward. I also hope to further engage national government stakeholders and other provincial MECs in ways to make this provincial project a national one.
In the gallery is mr Rodney Eksteen who has been the driver behind this project. He deserves a round of applause.
Still, that is not where this department’s forward thinking and innovation ends.
I mentioned earlier about the need to develop better communication tools to ensure communication between communities and government improves. For too long governments have been expecting people to attend town hall meetings or council meetings if they want to know what’s going on in their towns. Largely most communities do not attend these sessions and accordingly often feel excluded from council decision making. This often leads to the case where councils do what they want with little accountability.
Two weeks ago on the 15th of March, we launched what will surely become a flagship project of this administration. We call it the citizen engagement application. It is an APP that can work on feature and smart phones and is free to install and free to use. It is being rolled out in conjunction with the Western Cape’s broadband infrastructure rollout program and it will take local government, its decisions and processes straight into the homes of citizens in every community. This APP will provide citizens with a real opportunity to take an active part in how their municipalities are managed. The APP is currently being piloted in five municipalities across the province. These are Laingsburg ; Langeberg; Overstrand; Oudtshoorn; and Swartland. The initial municipalities will have the APP rolled out in full over the next twelve months. We plan to have a complete roll-out across the province by 2018/19 financial year.
The project leader on this is Mr Mohammed Parker who unfortunately could not join us today.
Ek daag enigiemand uit om my enige ander departement in hierdie land te wys wat met dieselfde kapasiteitsvermoë in terme van begroting en mense, vermag wat hierdie department reeds vermag het en besig is om te doen. Ons is nie net besig om aardverskuiwende innovasie te ontwikkel nie, ons is reeds besig om te implementeer!
That was the good story we are telling. Now a story that is less good. The province is currently experiencing a devastating drought. Local disasters have been declared in five municipalities and the metro. In addition, we are expecting to declare a further seven municipalities disaster areas and there is a chance that the province may have to be declared a disaster area too. Matters are very serious. We have already initiated certain interventions since November which has improved the water security in some significant risk areas.
These include but are not limited to:
- Equipped new boreholes and connect to reservoir and pipe network in Laingsburg cost R500 000
- In Algeria Drilled and equipped a borehole cost R1.8-million
- In Tulbach we Drilled & equipped 2 new boreholes at a cost of R2-million
- We have also allocated R2-million to awareness programmes to drive water savings messages across the province.
I am sure you would have become aware of some of these awareness campaigns we have been initiating across the province. We kicked the process off in Beaufort-West in December last year. Another part of our awareness campaign is the project called H20 heroes. There is a website with the same name that can be visited and I urge members to do so. The idea behind this is to thank citizens of this province for doing their best to assist us in driving down water usage.
The Disaster Management Centre has developed a project called “Avoiding Day Zero” and that is where the bulk of our activities are currently focused. One critical message is that we should not get complacent when we reach the winter rainfall season and that our conservation efforts should actually be strengthened at that time. During 2017/18 the Provincial Disaster Management Centre will continue to support the declared disaster areas. The socio-economic impacts of the drought will also be monitored through the drought working group and interventions and support will be provided on a needs basis in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture under Minister Winde.
‘n Baie ernstige realiteit is die saak van krimpende begrotings. Begrotings toenames is lank reeds nie op koers met inflasie nie. Dit beteken elke jaar kry ons minder bang vir ons buck.
Oorweeg weer vir ‘n oomblik die huidige droogte: Ons ontvang gereeld navrae van die media en die publiek wat vra waarom ons nie damme bou nie? Waarom bou ons nie groot ontsoutingsaanlegte nie. Dit is natuurlik nie projekte wat ons nie wil oorweeg nie. Die realiteit is egter dit val grootliks nie in ons mandaat nie, en dit is baie beslis nie binne ons departement se finansiële vermoë nie. Hou in gedagte dat hierdie departement van Plaaslike Regering wat die afdeling Rampbestuur insluit, ontvang vir die 2017/2018 boekjaar R249 miljoen rand.
The primary goal of this Department, by legislative and other measures, is to support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions. In addition, the department must provide for the monitoring and support of local government and promote the development of local government capacity to enable municipalities to perform their functions and manage their own affairs.
To strengthen participatory democracy, my Department has been supporting municipalities with the establishment of ward committees, following the Local Government elections that were held on 3 August 2016. To ensure transparency and credibility of the process and, consistent with the relevant legislation governing ward committees, my Department developed a “Toolkit on Ward Committee Establishment”, with the view to guide municipalities on how best to establish ward committees. To date, twenty-two (22) out of twenty-four (24) local municipalities in the Province have completed the establishment of their ward committees.
The Department has over the past year rolled out and conducted capacity building and training initiatives to all municipalities in the Province. The Ward Committee Induction Train the Trainer Course, attended by more than hundred and twenty (120) officials representing twenty nine (29) municipalities, was rolled out from June to November 2016.
Recognising that municipalities are at the forefront of managing the impact of unplanned urbanisation, which often results in significant challenges in the provision of adequate infrastructure, service delivery, governance and development, my Department continued the alignment of the strategies of all organs of state to improve joint delivery to our citizens.
With the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) being a single and inclusive strategic plan for the development of a municipality, the Fourth Generation Integrated IDPs provide an opportunity to strengthen integrated planning, budgeting and implementation between the WCG and the respective Western Cape Municipalities and to influence planning to contribute to sustainable local government.
- To this end engagement are continuously being held with all five Districts with a theme of “Integrated Approach Towards Sustainable Local Government”.
My Department remains committed in promoting access to small scale economic opportunities for poor communities to alleviate poverty. We must tackle the scourge of unemployment, poverty and inequality especially in our rural and poorest areas.
The Community Development Worker Programme therefore continues to enhance partnerships and networks with other government departments, entities and other organisations with economic opportunities to support communities through creating small scale economic projects.
In addition, you may be interested to note in this regard, there is a special focus on empowering our youth. Ons moet as regering meer doen om ons jeug te bemagtig en betrokke te kry in die ekonomie. Dit sal n fokus wees vir my vorentoe.
When it comes to providing access to government services to rural communities the Thusong Programme contributes towards achievement of the Provincial Strategic Goal 5: Embed good governance and integrated service delivery through partnerships and spatial alignment. During the 2016/2017 financial year the Department funded 10 Thusong Service Centres through the Operational and Maintenance funding to the amount of R1 588 000. In the coming financial year we want to add to the basket of funds to include project funding to alleviate poverty, create jobs and to ensure sustainability of projects run by Thusong Service Centres. To date the Thusong Programme has reached 650 316 people through the Thusong Service Centres and also 20 936 citizens through the Thusong Outreaches. During the 17/18 financial year, one million citizens will access government and other related service through the Thusong Programme. Moving forward the Thusong Programme model will focus “Towards building hubs for poverty reduction, job creation and broad based community development”.
Ek neem net ‘n oomblik om ons branddienste van verskeie entiteite insluitend ons eie rampbestuurspanne te bedank.
Soos die Premier in haar toespraak tydens die opening van die Provinsiale Parlement aangedui is ons in die middel van ‘n besonderse erge brandseisoen en ons brandweerspanne veg steeds byna daagliks verwoestende brande regoor die provinsie. Ons het vanjaar reeds meer as 17000 brande bestry en meer vliegure gevlieg as ooit tevore. Ons doen ‘n beroep op die publiek om versigtig te wees rondom oop vure en ons te kontak op die noodnommer 112 in die geval van ‘n brand.
Ter afsluiting bedank ek graag vir Graham Paulse, die Hoof van die Departement en vir elke persoon in die department vir hulle harde werk oor die afgelope jaar. Dit is ook lekker om te noem voor ek vergeet – die department het ook ‘n skoon oudit behaal in die afgelope jaar. Inderdaad, dit bly ‘n plesier en ‘n voorreg om saam met dié span te kan werk.
Ek Dank U.
Spokesperson for Minister Bredell
Telephone: 021 483 2820
Cellphone: 084 583 1670