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President Cyril Ramaphosa looks to SALGA members to give meaning and effect to the new dawn that South Africans need



Posted: 11 December 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a keynote address at the SALGA National Members Assembly and marshalled the delegates in the spirit of ‘Thuma Mina’ saying members of SALGA must give meaning and effect to the new dawn that the South African people need and deserve.

President Ramaphosa told delegates that it was through local government that the needs and aspirations of the people are most directly addressed. The assembly, held under the umbrella theme: “20 Years since the adoption of the White Paper on Local Government: Reflections on Building a Sustainable, Responsive and People-Centred Local Government System”, also looked at key challenges facing local government.

“It is at a local level that the transformation of our country is made visible, where improvements in the quality of life of South Africans is made manifest. Where local government leads, South Africa will follow. When it comes to our country’s development, the local government is the difference between failure and success,” Ramaphosa said.

The President further emphasised that “we need to restore our economy to grow, attract greater levels of investment and create jobs on a massive scale. None of this will be possible without local government”.

In her welcome address, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, who is also a Deputy President of SALGA, said that the leadership of SALGA stand combat ready to support municipalities in every way possible to help them deliver much-needed services to the poor communities. She said local government as a sphere closest to the people on the ground was faced with a number of challenges.

In the KwaZulu-Natal province, for example, SALGA has assisted in crafting and securing commitment to a Compact of Mayors against climate change. This is an initiative aimed to commit all Mayors to the program of fighting climate change. SALGA has taken a bold and critical step to convene Mayors and commit to politically providing oversight on the issues of climate change within their respective areas.
The arrests related to the killing of councillors in the province of KwaZulu-Natal has seen the scourge abate and this was as a result of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s intervention through Inter-Ministerial Team.

Speakers echoed the sentiment expressed earlier by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, Mr Willies Mchunu who also thanked the President for ensuring that the scourge is arrested.

Dr Mkhize announced that the Ministers of Finance as well as Public Service and Administration, the MECs and SALGA have been given until 14 December 2018 to comment on the Draft Notice on the Upper Limits for councillors which the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) intends to gazette on 17 December 2018 for implementation.

SALGA supports the efforts by Minister of COGTA Dr Zweli Mkhize which identified various challenges in municipalities, which contribute to poor service delivery. Local government has set out to address these challenges and to change the negative perceptions about the sector. There is support for the Municipal Recovery Plan which is derived from the Back to Basics principles, working with the National Treasury and all provinces, focusing on fixing governance and administration challenges as well as financial management issues. The priority is addressing political instability in some councils caused by shaky coalitions or internal dynamics within political parties. ‘

The concluding speech of the day was that of SALGA President Parks Tau who gave an account of how the organisation has been making a contribution at better shaping the local government sphere.

He acknowledged the massive progress the sector has made over the last 18 years of its democratic life, including the provision of basic services to so many more of our communities, the rapid development and quality of our infrastructure, the increased mobility, investments in social amenities and massive progress in financial management and institutional resilience.

However, he stated that we must own up to the objective reality that in many of our municipalities we have failed to serve our people with integrity, there is a state of maladministration and a high number of reported incidences of corruption; lack of implementation of service delivery and accountability and consequence management.
Lastly, SALGA remains concerned about the continued loss of life through targeted assassinations and brutal killings of our councillors and municipal officials

Other dignitaries who attended the session were Department of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwiti, Deputy Minister for CoGTA, Andries Nel, Eastern Cape MEC for CoGTA, Fikile Xasa and Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu from the National House of Traditional leaders.

The Assembly seeks to provide guidance on the approach the country needs to take to ensure local government is capable of effectively fulfilling its developmental role. Furthermore, it must make a clear distinction between the immediate interventions needed to address areas of crisis and the more fundamental measures to be put in place to ensure sustained and sustainable progress.

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