Speeches

Official Opening of the Thusong Service Centre in Mossel Bay

11 October 2013

Executive Mayor
Deputy Mayor
Speaker
Councillors
Senior managers of national, provincial and local government
Members of the Mossel Bay community

It gives me great pleasure to be here today to formally open this very special Mossel Bay Thusong Service Centre.

As you may know, the Thusong Programme was transferred to my department (Department of Local Government) in April 2010. It is a well-known phenomenon that poor communities have to pay travelling costs to access government services and other amenities.

My department has expanded the programme to include not only the centres but also mobiles, satellites and Thusong Zone projects. The Thusong Programme is envisioned to be responsive to our community's needs, through bringing government information and services closer to the citizens, thereby promoting access to opportunities for improved livelihoods, as well as to enhance the promotion of cost-effective, integrated and sustainable service delivery. The Thusong Programme has become a platform for fostering sustainable partnerships across government, with business and civil society.

To date, my department has made great strides through this programme in responding to community needs and expanding access to government services across the Western Cape. I can proudly and confidently confirm that through the programme, at least 500 000 people have accessed services either from a Thusong Service Centre, Outreach (mobile or extension) or a satellite service point.

Executive Mayor, in my opening, I mentioned that the Mossel Bay Thusong Centre is a distinctive and special centre, I want to emphasise and qualify my statement by highlighting the following, that this centre is a tangible example of integrated service delivery and co-operative governance.

I say so because, while the project was led by the Mossel Bay Municipality, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport contributed to funding the establishment of the library while the Provincial Treasury contributed towards the establishment of the Economic Hives that you see built here. My department contributed an amount of R4 million towards the establishment of this centre and played an overarching and co-ordinating role in the overall project. It might be of interest to also mention that national government, in particular the Presidency, has had a keen interest in this project. I am aware that the officials from the Presidency were present during the handing over of keys to the sector departments.

The commitment displayed and interest shown by various sector departments in taking up office space and regionalising their service delivery points within this particular Thusong Service Centre must be commended.

It is important that we understand fully just how vital service delivery has become from a municipal point of view and it's in this that we must look at the MIG spending in our province and just how successful we as a province have becomewith the support and co-operation of our municipalities across the province.

We have in fact, as a province, been the only province that has been able to spend our annual budget and in the 2012/2013 financial year again achieved a success rate of 100%.

Mossel Bay will over the 2013/15 financial years receive a total of R822 967 000, which includes MIG funding and covers the following:

  • Department of Public Works
    12 projects (R551 118 000)
  • Department of Social Development
    Two projects (R40 414 000)
  • MIG
    13 projects (R110 803 000)
  • Department of Human Settlements
    Five projects (R115 315 000)
  • Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport
    Three projects (R 5 317 000)

The Eden District Council's total value of projects over the same period as above comes to an amount of R593 325 926 , of which the Western Cape Government will contribute R323 003 685 and this will fund a total of 41 projects. These projects include sanitation, roads, water, recreation facilities, electricity, community halls, public transport and so I can go on.

What is of vital importance is that if we are to achieve our targets and kick-start the cycle of development in our province, we have to have the finest infrastructure available. Houses cannot be built, neither will development take place, where basic services are non-existent.

We are living in a period of extremely rapid change and we have to take note of this challenge of change and confront it head-on.

In the USA in 2011, one-eighth of all couples who got married met online.

Google searches on a monthly basis were 2.7 billion in 2006 but grew to a staggering 31 billion in 2011. Only five years!

It took radio 38 years reach the 50 million mark whereas it took:

  • TV 13 years
  • Internet four years
  • iPod three years and
  • Facebook two years

We are living in a changing and challenging environment and today another small step is being taken in addressing this challenge.

This centre will enable government to respond to community needs and challenges by ensuring that a comprehensive basket of services can be accessed from the Thusong Centre. These services will include access to identity documents (application and collections), birth certificates, social grants and services, health services and many more services.

I want to firstly congratulate the community of Mossel Bay (Kwa Nonqaba) for affording us (government) the opportunity to build this centre for you. Infrastructure of this nature is a valuable asset for the community, therefore it is incumbent upon yourselves to ensure that the facility remains in a good condition, remains clean and is protected by yourselves – you must jealously guard it!

To the Mossel Bay mayor and your officials, thank you for partnering with us on this imperative. My department will continue to work hand-in-hand with you to ensure that the Thusong Service Centre remains central to the development of this community.

To other departments and partners, to ensure that our communities have access to their service rights, I want to encourage you to be responsive to the needs of the communities we serve. In honoring our duties, we must be competent, accountable and uphold the highest level of integrity.

I would like to leave you with the following thought:

"Development occurs when there is policy clarity and a set of planned actions."

I thank you.

Media Enquiries: 
Peter Pullen
Spokesperson for Minister Bredell
Tel: 021 483 2820
Cell: 082 574 3773