Department of Local Government Budget Speech 2021
Honorable Premier of the Western Cape
Provincial Cabinet Colleagues and members of the Legislature
The Head of the Department
Ladies and Gentlemen
Today it’s my privilege to present the 2021 budget for the Department of Local Government.
We meet at a time when the Coronavirus continues to be a real disruptive event, one that continues to present enormous challenges to government. This department has in many ways, particularly through the disaster management centre, been at the forefront of combating the virus.
I want to take a moment on this platform to thank the Head of the Department, Mr Graham Paulse, and his senior management, for their ongoing leadership during this difficult time.
I also want to thank all the people in the department for their tireless efforts over the past year and for the fact that they will continue to work hard despite the new challenging environment we are operating in.
Speaker, 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.
Recognising that municipalities are at the coalface with communities who need help and better services, and this often results in significant challenges in the provision of adequate infrastructure, service delivery, governance and development.
This in turn sees the proliferation of protests which are increasingly violent. In addition, we see large scale land invasions onto parts of land that is not habitable and indeed poses large safety concerns for the people living there.
The example is that of Driftsands in the City of Cape Town where a community has settled in an area that is prone to flooding. We are working with the community and others who are similar positions, to see what can be done to assist.
Speaker, this Department remains committed in promoting access to small scale economic opportunities for poor communities to alleviate poverty in very municipality. We must do what we can to help tackle the scourge of unemployment, poverty and inequality especially in our rural and poorest areas.
In this regard the Community Development Worker Programme 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, in the year ahead the department will continue to leverage off its Thusong Programme to continue to build hubs for poverty reduction, job creation and broad-based community development.
The department continues to provide training to councillors across the province in order to further strengthen governance within municipalities. The training includes matters of ethics, anti-corruption, legislative roles, and responsibilities as well as draft rules of order.
The department further continues with close partnership with the Hans Seidel Foundation with whom a summer school for training councillors has been launched.
The Department is also proud of its partnership with the French Development Agency, a partnership that is aimed at addressing the backlog in the investment in infrastructure in the province.
The project aims to foster an enhanced integrated approach to municipal infrastructure development based on coordinated and sustainable principles.
Speaker, the Department’s budget amounts to R348 664 million in 2021/22 adjusted downward to R285 314 million in 2022/23 and with a marginal increase to R293 085 million in 2023/2024.
The Department’s allocation increased by R 68.6 million in 2021/2022 or 24.5 percent in comparison with the revised estimate of R 280 million for 2020/2021 financial year.
The Department has received earmarked funds over the MTEF in the following Programmes:
- An additional amount of R6.904 million over the 2021 MTEF to support the implementation of the Joint District and Metro Approach.
- An amount of R 8.662 million over the 2021 MTEF towards strengthening the forensic investigation unit in the department. This unit aims to provide better support to municipalities where there may be a need for corruption investigations.
- R5 million towards support to municipalities through the strengthening of public participation and citizen focused interventions
- R50 million is allocated to the Department to coordinate and ensure the implementation of targeted, short term public employment programmes for communities identified as being in distress. These funds will be transferred through conditional transfers to local municipalities in the Western Cape where and when needed.
- R2.5 million towards the development of a 15 Year Western Cape Integrated Drought and Water Response Plan.
- R1.7 million over the 2021 MTEF for maintenance and support requirements related to the upgrade and replacement of the Disaster Management Centre Audio Visual Infrastructure
- R32.543 million for Aerial firefighting. The additional funding provided to the Department will allow for improved firefighting response related to the increase in fire incidents experienced in the Province.
Speaker, we are heading into our winter season and we do expect a wet and cold winter. On top of the Covid challenges this will present challenges to communities especially those residing in low lying areas and in flood prone regions.
This is particularly relevant to recent land invasions in Driftsands in the City of Cape Town where we are concerned about the proximity to a dam wall in the area.
I want to urge communities to take note of early flood and weather warnings. I want to urge such communities to contact their municipalities and determine the risk for flooding and fire in their communities and to seek help from the municipality to see if alternate arrangements and support is possible.
On that note I want to thank all the disaster entities and responders for their efforts over the past summer fire season where we saw several large wildfires across the province.
Whether these are government or volunteer or private institutions, it requires a team effort to combat natural disasters and it remains a privilege to be associated with the world class team we have.
I thank you.