Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

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,
Mayors, Councillors,
Our revered Traditional Leaders,
Representatives of business, labour and civil organisations
Distinguished Guests
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 their behalf. 

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 impact.  

Socio-economic Challenges  

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 government. 

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 legacy. 

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 Province.   

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 (CRDP) 

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 Moroka municipality. 

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


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