Speeches

Minister Bredell On the Occasion of the 2015 Budget Speech

24 March 2015

Honorable Speaker
Honorable Premier of the Western Cape
Provincial Cabinet Colleagues and members of the Legislature
Executive Mayors and municipal Managers
The head of department, colleagues and friends

Today I have the honour and privilege to present the 2015 budget speech for the department of Local Government in the Western Cape.

Before I start, I would like to spend a moment to thank the thousands of men and women who have bravely fought raging wildfires across our province for the past few months.

We live in a fire prone province and the region has again experienced a very intense fire season, one of the worst in 15 years.

The firefighting aircraft on contract to the Western Cape Government flew a combined total of 280 hours so far and dropped over 2.2 million litres of water on 65 fires. 

This was done in support of the efforts of nearly 1500 fire fighters from the various firefighting agencies.

The fires this year caused tremendous damage and led to the tragic loss of loved ones in our firefighting community.

We should all be under no illusion that things would have been much worse if it had not been for the dedication, commitment and selfless sacrifice of so many, including firefighters, working on fire volunteers, the South African Air force, Sanparks, Cape Nature and many others.

Over the years, my Department has invested in proactive measures to ensure timely response, vital in fighting fires. Thanks to this proactivity, we still manage to extinguish more than 95% of all wild land fires within one hour of the fires being detected.

I am pleased to announce that in this year’s budget we have enhanced our aerial firefighting capacity even more and we have allocated R6.8 million to aerial fire-fighting capabilities.

I would like to touch briefly on fires in informal settlements. 

The complexities and challenges involved with fires in informal settlements versus wildfires are vastly different.
The department accordingly has relevant protocols already in place that have been developed over time to align with the nature of the incidents.
When it comes to addressing the scourge of informal settlement fires, one of the main focuses in addressing the issue is Education.
 Education is vital. That is a given. 
People often simply do not know what to do when a fire breaks out in their home.
Being a proactive department, we have developed a fire prevention curriculum for pre-schools and early childhood development over the past year. 
It is a long term approach focused particularly on young children who also happen to be one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to fires in informal settlements.

Every day we are advocating the message that Fire is Everyone’s fight.
It is ultimately a serious challenge that affects us all and can only be addressed when we are all working together. 

Agbare speaker
Minister Pravin Gordhan is besig met ‘n landswye veldtog om munisipaliteite te kry om terug te keer na hul basiese verantwoordelikhede. 

Back to Basics noem Minister Gordhan dit.

Die doel van sy Back to Basics veldtog is ‘n poging om munisipaliteite te kry om hul basiese verantwoordelikhede na te kom.

Hoe beskou die minister die basiese verantwoordelikhede van munisipaliteite?

Vir een moet daar sekere basiese dienste deur munisipaliteite verskaf word aan inwoners van ‘n munisipaliteit.

Dié mandjie basiese dienste sluit in dinge soos instandhouding en onderhoudswerk van infrastruktuur. 

Slaggate moet reggemaak word. 

Verkeersligte moet werk.

Gras moet gesny word. 

Dit is die soort basiese dienste waarna minister Gordhan sê munisipaliteite moet terugkeer.

Munisipaliteite moet bekwame mense in diens neem. 

Daar moet standaarde wees en mense met die nodige ervaring en opleiding moet aangestel word. 

In munisipaliteite behoort alle senior bestuurders prestasie kontrakte te onderteken in lyn met wetgewing. 

En hulle moet daarby gehou word.

Munisipaliteite behoort gesonde finansiële stelsels te handhaaf. 

Hulle moet nie geld mors nie en moet streng optree teen bedrog en korrupsie. 

Die terugkeer na basiese verantwoordelikhede op munisipale vlak sluit verder in dat munisipaliteite nuwe infrastruktuur moet ontwikkel teen ‘n standaard wat aanvaarbaar is. 

Dit help min munisipaliteite bou huise vir mense wat binne maande na okkupasie daarvan inmekaar val nie. 

Dit help ook min as nuwe riool aanlegte nie onderhou word nie.

Natuurlik gaan dit binne ‘n jaar of twee breek.

Dienslewering is ook kernbelangrik in enige munisipaliteit.  Mense kort water en elektrisiteit en vullisverwydering en riooldienste wat werk en betroubaar is.

‘n Kultuur van betaal vir dienste moet gekweek word.

Agbare Speaker
Ek is bly om te kan sê dat die fondasie vir munisipaliteite wat goed werk reeds gevestig in die Wes-Kaap.

En dis nie ek wat so sê nie. 

Die Ouditeur Generaal het verlede jaar aan 30 van die 30 munisipaliteite in dié provinsie ongekwalifiseerde oudits gegee.

Hy het selfs verder gegaan en aan 17 van dié munisipaliteite skoon oudits gegee. 

Meer as die helfte is dus in die Wes-Kaap en die stad Kaapstad is die enigste metro in die land om ‘n skoon oudit te ontvang.

Ek is opgewonde om te kan sê dat ons glo dat ons vanjaar selfs verder gaan verbeter op dié uitsonderlike prestasie!

Skoon oudits en ongekwalifiseerde oudits is belangrik omdat dit vir mense gerustheid gee dat hulle geld nie gemors word nie.

Ander entiteite soos die groep Municipal IQ lys agt Wes-Kaapse munisipaliteite onder die top tien munisipaliteite in die land.
Dit is ‘n uitstekende prestasie en ek wens ons munisipaliteite se bestuur baie geluk met dié prestasie.

Ek herhaal, in die Wes-Kaap is die fondasie vir goeie munisipaliteite reeds gevestig. 

Dit is nou nodig om te bou op daardie fondasie.

Honourable Speaker
This past year, the department also received an unqualified audit opinion and, as promised in my budget speech more than a year ago, the department has delivered in a big way and continues to outperform despite its ever shrinking budget. 

I am very proud of the achievements reached over the past year and also want to thank the women and men involved for the hard work they have put in over the period.

Last year’s budget was applied to a variety of programmes. 

These include the continued rolling out of government services via the Thusong programme. 

The provincial Thusong Programme is an initiative that takes government to the people. And these are people in rural areas, often with little access to government services.

This programme helps people with things like getting ID books and birth certificates. These are vital documents if, for example, you are an in need of access to a social grant from government.

Over the past year, the Thusong programme has provided access to government services to more than a million people across the province. 

A remarkable achievement. 

In fact, the Department managed to exceed their number of planned outreaches during the period as the demand for this programme was high from all Municipalities in the province. 

Besides the citizens who gained access to services through the established Thusong Service Centres, an additional 28 993 people could be helped thanks to the Thusong Outreach programme. This outreach programme is a mobile service taking services to the doorsteps of far-flung outlying areas.

I am proud to report back on the hard work done by our Community Development Workers. These workers do outstanding work in communities across the province. In the past year, more than 20 000 case referrals to various government departments took place. These referrals basically amount to practical problems that impact massively on people’s lives.

As part of the department’s continued commitment to support municipalities, we will continue to roll out the accredited LG SETA community based planning Train the Trainer course to municipal officials. Over the past year, we have trained 33 officials across the province under the auspices of this programme. These officials are now equipped to roll out further training to other officials and structures to further improve planning between communities and government.

Honorable Speaker
Over the past three years, the Western Cape has explored ways of fostering intergovernmental planning and implementation. This process has now evolved and is set to enable the implementation of the NDP (National Development Plan) on the one hand and to enhance the development and implementation of the Provincial Strategic Plan on the other. Planning in the province has matured to a phase where joint planning and implementation is a fundamental element in ensuring sustainable and integrated service delivery.
This led to the conceptualisation of the Joint Planning Initiative or JPI. The JPI seeks to identify a set of long-term strategic priorities which will jointly be implemented between the province and municipalities.

As part of the department’s municipal support programme, the department is assisting municipalities to develop robust IT systems. This will enable them to deliver E-Citizen services and ensure optimal functioning of the municipalities.

I am pleased to announce that all Municipalities in the Western Cape have now been provided with their respective Municipal Codes, which is a compilation of their By-Laws. 

This support will further enable Municipalities to effectively enforce their By-Laws and repeal any old and non-applicable By-Laws . 

In addition, the Department of Local Government will be embarking on the rationalisation of old Ordinances applicable to municipalities, and will subsequently support them in developing new By-Laws to substitute the functions provided in the Ordinances, if required.

It is a fact, Honorable Speaker, that the municipalities in the Western Cape are among the best in the country when it comes to delivering services to all communities.

Consider the findings of Stats SA’s latest Non-Financial Census of Municipalities (NFCM) report.

According to Stats SA the Western Cape has the highest proportion of consumer units that benefit from the free basic water policy in the country. 

The province is also the highest rated in terms of consumer units that benefit from the free basic electricity and free basic sewerage and sanitation policies developed by government. 

I will repeat that.

According to this StatsSA report, communities in the Western Cape are the most fortunate when compared to every other province in terms of getting access to basic services.

Further evidence of good management at municipal level is the fact that Municipalities in the Western Cape spent 98% of their allocated Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funding in the financial year to 30 June 2014. 

The total MIG allocation for all 30 municipalities in the province for the year was R450 million.  In total R441 million was spent.

This is a wonderful achievement.

Consider by comparison another province in the country that failed to spend their MIG funding and this meant that around R500 million was returned to the National Treasury.  That’s more than our entire MIG budget. 

The MIG money goes to building new infrastructure to improve people’s lives.  For example, in the past year, 30% of the total MIG funding was spent on improving sanitation utilities and 26% was spent on water infrastructure in the province. 

I am pleased to add that for the current financial year, we are on track to spend 100% of the MIG funding received for this period.

An area of concern is electricity and, as you are aware, it is a competency over which we have very little influence.  We are all very reliant on Eskom. 

Where we have a role to play is with regards to the electricity networks in municipalities, and I am concerned about the state of some of these networks. 

Therefore, my department has already allocated additional funding towards a project that will help municipalities prepare comprehensive electricity master plans. 

This is another proudly Western Cape initiative! 

Agbare Speaker
Ons demokrasie is vanjaar 21 jaar oud en ons het al baie ver gekom.
Maar daar is nog baie werk wat voorlê en wat gedoen moet word.

Die departement se totale begroting vir 2015/2016 is net meer as R200 miljoen. 
Ek wil net ‘n oomblik neem en daarop wys dat daar ‘n enorme werkslading op die departement is, en die grote van die begroting om dit mee te doen moet dalk heroorweeg word.

Hou in gedagte die enorme taak wat die departement verrig, regoor 30 munisipaliteite in een van die land se grootste provinsies.

In die jaar vorentoe sal ons aanhou om ons gereedheidsvlakke vir rampe in die provinsie aandag te gee.  Die totale begroting vir rampbestuur is R28.3 miljoen.

Die rigting waarin rampbestuur beweeg is risiko ontleding en beplanning daarvolgens, om proaktief te kan optree nog voordat rampe gebeur. 

Dit word wêreldwyd beskou om die mees effektiewe manier te wees om die impak van rampe te verminder.

Madam Speaker

It is in this regard where I would like to thank the department’s Risk Reduction Team for developing a Web Based Decision Support tool that maps risks across the province.

This tool will play an invaluable role in our ability to respond to disasters in the most effective manner possible.
Die Wolwehoek opleidingssentrum het reeds 180 noodreaksie personeel opgelei en sal aanhou met dié goeie werk. 

Die departement sal saam met Minister Plato en die departement van gemeenskapsveiligheid, die Wolwehoek fasiliteit uitbou in ‘n brandweer en rampbestuur opleidings fasiliteit. 

‘n Verdere R1.047 miljoen word hiervoor opsy gesit. 
 
Agbare Speaker, 
Ek sluit af.

Ongelykheid, armoede en werkloosheid lê soos ‘n wolf voor ons almal se deur.

En daardie wolf groei elke dag.

Hy laat ons nog toe om ons huise te verlaat en buite rond te loop, maar dit lyk of ons te dikwels vergeet van die wolf en ons vergeet hy word al groter.

Ons almal moet harder werk om die wêreld daarbuite ‘n beter plek te maak.

Oud president Nelson Mandela het op sy almanak op Robben Eiland geskryf:
“The purpose of freedom is to create it for others.” 
(Die doel van vryheid is om dit vir andere to skep.)
Ons moet almal meer doen, meer bou, meer eerlik optree, meer saamwerk.

Ons kan net die land vorentoe neem en mense se lewens daadwerklik verbeter deur samewerking.

In dié verband is my deur altyd oop vir mense en partye en entiteite wat kan praat oor oplossings en samewerking en maniere om die land vorentoe te neem.

Ek wil ter afsluiting weer vir dr. Hildegarde Fast bedank vir haar harde werk oor die afgelope jaar. Dit bly ‘n plesier en ‘n voorreg om saam met haar en haar span te kan werk.
Ek dank U.

Media Enquiries: 

James-Brent Styan
Spokesperson for Minister Bredell
Telephone:   021 483 2820
Cellphone:    084 583 1670