Closing Address by Hon. Premier DD Mabuza at the Sitting of the Mpumalanga Legislature in Dr JS Moroka Municipality
15 September 2011
Speaker of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature,
Members of the Executive Council
Permanent Delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)
Members of our Provincial Legislature,
Our revered Traditional Leaders,
Representatives of business, labour and civil organisations
Ladies and Gentlemen
Sanibonani, dumelang, lotshani
Oversight Role of the Legislature
Today marks the official closing of the week-long “Taking
the Legislature to the People” programme in Dr JS Moroka local municipality. It
is programme that provides an opportunity to members of the legislature to
interact with communities and assess progress that government is making in
addressing development and service delivery challenges facing communities.
Most importantly, it is a programme that also provides the
platform for people to make their voices heard by raising issues of development
and service delivery that affect them directly. As public representatives, it is
our collective responsibility to deepen a culture of transparency and
accountability for the work that we are mandated by the people to execute on
We are heartened that through the oversight programme you
are bringing democracy closer to the people. You have empowered communities to
participate in democratic processes that impact on their lives.
Through this visit, you have become more aware of the
developmental challenges that our people continue to face on a daily basis. I am
confident that you been able to identify challenges and areas where government
needs to take action and improve the quality of service delivery.
Honourable speaker and members, let me assure you that
various reports and recommendations emanating from the interactions with
communities during this week will be taken seriously to ensure that government’s
response to these challenges is more focused and targeted to achieve maximum
As members of the legislature, you have had an opportunity
to experience socio-economic conditions under which the people of Dr J.S. Moroka
Municipality live. People here continue to be beset by a myriad of problems that
we need to tackle so that they also benefit from the life under a democratic
Our own analysis as the Provincial Government reveals that
many people in this area are poor, many are unemployed, and their access to
services is often uneven where the services are available at all.
The socio-economic profile of this municipality indicates
that the unemployment rate is at 64.4%, with youth constituting the large
proportion of the unemployed. In 2010, the annual per capita income in Dr JS
Moroka was lower than that of the District and the Province. The number of
people over 15 years with no schooling is quite high. The HIV prevalence rate
continues to pose challenges to the prospects of growth and development
In 2009, the municipality recorded the third lowest
percentage of households with hygienic toilets, and the second lowest percentage
of households with piped water at or above RDP level. There are housing backlogs
that need to be tackled as we continue to address the apartheid underdevelopment
Most notably, your visit to various sites would have revealed that there is a lack of access to adequate water supply in many of the wards.
Electricity supply is often inadequate or unreliable. Regravelling of some of the roads has not covered all the areas that are affected.
In some instances, we hear that there are areas where
children cannot pass the river to go to school in the summer when it rains.
Access to adequate health care also remains a serious area
of discontent where we hear that you found that Siyabuswa Clinic is constantly
overcrowded and there is a shortage of adequate infrastructure and personnel.
All these challenges require our collective leadership
commitment to work together in changing the lives of communities for the better.
Delivering on Key Government Priorities
Honourable Speaker, the 2009 national and provincial
elections renewed the ANC-led government’s overwhelming popular mandate to
tackle under-development and service delivery challenges facing the nation as
whole, including the challenges that I have alluded to in this part of the
Together with the people, the ANC-led government prioritised:
- The creation of decent work and sustainable livelihood;
- The need to improve the quality of education,
- Focus on improving the health profile of our people;
- The need to enhance the standard of living of the rural poor; as well as
- The need to fight crime and corruption that is so
pervasive within our society.
As we undertake these tasks, we are cognisant of the fact that the overall capacity of the state to deliver and lead development and socio-economic transformation is crucial to the agenda of creating a better life for all. At coalface of delivery, municipalities are a vital cog in the government machinery to bring about local economic participation, infrastructure development, job creation and the provision of basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.
Government as a whole has emphasised the critical role that rural municipalities must play in reducing backlogs in access to basic services.
As we deliver these services, we should be able to
stimulate local economies, broaden inclusive participation and self-empowerment
by local people in order to take advantage of opportunities presented by
government demand for the procurement of goods and services.
The development of infrastructure in rural municipalities such as Dr JS Moroka is key to unlocking the potential and capacity of the local economy to address poverty, create jobs, and improve access to basic services. As noted by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, yesterday when he released the Local Government Review. He said:
“The lack of road infrastructure hinders development. The supply of water infrastructure, depending on the nature and scale of technology, has great potential for stimulating small and large scale agricultural activities. The importance of electricity infrastructure in rural areas cannot be over emphasised. Besides improving the lives of people, it can facilitate small business development”.
As a province, we need to support our municipalities to become viable and develop requisite capacities to drive local economic development in their spaces.
Leveraging the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme
Honourable Speaker, the President declared this year as a
year of job creation. Likewise, as a Province we are paying particular attention
to the creation of employment opportunities for the people of the Province.
Among other key interventions, the Province has elevated the CRDP as part of our
response to deal with socio-economic challenges in seven poverty-stricken
municipalities, including Dr JS Moroka municipality.
These municipalities are Mkhondo municipality, where the
programme was first piloted, Bushbuckridge
municipality, Nkomazi municipality, Inkosi Albert Luthuli municipality, Pixley
Ka Isaka Seme municipality, Thembisile Hani municipality, as well as Dr JS
As part of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, we have prioritised:
- infrastructure development, including economic and social infrastructure
- growing of the agricultural sector to take advantage of our competitive advantage as a rural province
- Provision of basic services
- Small business development, including the establishment of cooperatives
- Skills development, particularly for the Youth, Women
and people with disabilities.
In April this year, we launched the roll-out of the CRDP in this municipality to provide a comprehensive response to the challenges posed by the socio-economic profile of these areas.
Despite challenges, I am convinced that we are making
progress towards dealing with challenges facing Dr JS Moroka municipality.
Already, we have begun with projects covering a crossing of government
priorities including education, health, job creation and crime prevention.
Among others, work in progress includes:
- building, upgrading and renovating schools, health facilities, roads and housing
- The renovation Marapyane Education College which is in the process of being converted into an Agricultural college.
- Skills development targeting youth training in various trades such as painting, bricklaying, plumbing, welding and others.
- Registration of cooperatives, including financial and mentorship support as part our Memorandum of Understanding recently concluded with Standard Bank
- The construction of 960 houses in identified wards is
expected to create employment opportunities, and enable participation of
local suppliers in the construction process.
Through our Masibuyele Emasimini Programme we will continue to focus on supporting communities in this area to till the land; improve crop production and enhance livestock production. We will continue support small scale farmers with tractors, implements, seeds and fertilisers, including infrastructure development.
Partnership with Institutions of Traditional Leadership
As we tackle development challenges in rural municipalities such as this one, we will continue to enhance partnerships with the institution of traditional leadership to ensure that service delivery improves in areas under the jurisdiction of traditional leaders. As it is noted in the Local Government Review by the Minister of Finance:
‘In many rural areas, municipalities need to find ways of working co-operatively with traditional authorities to facilitate appropriate land use management, the rollout of basic services and the collection of rates from non-poor households and businesses located on traditional land’.
As a Province, we are committed to working with traditional leadership institutions in addressing the challenges of underdevelopment and poverty.
Honourable Speaker and Members, I want to conclude by
thanking the legislature for its valuable oversight role and its contribution to
deepening the democratic values and accountability to the people.
Our obligation is to give credence and true meaning to the dictate of the Freedom Charter that ‘People Shall Govern’.I thank you