Media release

Local Government media briefing

14 March 2014

14 March 2014

Deputy Minister
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for joining us at this morning’s briefing, which follows on from President Jacob Zuma’s last State of the Nation Address of the present administration, in this historic year during which we celebrate 20 Years of Freedom.

The big question is:  have we acted during the past two decades in a way that will enhance our future?

Our future will not just occur - it is an act of construction and we are all the builders. We need plans, we need tools, we need personnel, we need energy and commitment, and we need to be able to picture in our minds the end result we wish to achieve. What we have done in the past is to finalise the plan we have in mind. It is called the National Development Plan and all our fellow workers in other government departments have bought into its bold vision. What we are doing now is to design the tools we will need to construct our dream and make it a reality. Our construction project is scheduled to take 16 years and what we will be doing in these years is to work, to labour side by side, making sure every brick is in its place, and that our final effort is strong and sturdy.

The plan articulates a vision of South Africa 2030 as a state capable of playing a developmental and transformative role; a state that is accountable, focused on citizen’s priorities, and capable of delivering high-quality services consistently and sustainably through participatory democracy, exemplified by wholehearted interdepartmental cooperation. It is also a state that is effective in relieving the distress of those burdened with poverty and has greatly reduced the numbers of those so afflicted. And, as it is now, local government will be at the coalface of these developments.
We have some 16 years – until 2030 -  to achieve this goal, and now is the time to take stock of what impediments we might expect to find on the road to a successful outcome, and what methods can be deployed to overcome  them.

Between 2009 and 2014, a prominent part of our armoury has been the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, which acted to

  • Accelerate basic services delivery;
  • Promote Good Governance;
  • Enhance Sound Financial Management;
  • Intensifies the fight against corruption; and
  • Fosters sustainable Infrastructure development and maintenance.

The department, working together with the South African Local Government Association, (SALGA) and National Treasury, is promoting the establishment and effective functioning of Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPACs). The establishment and effectiveness of MPACs is seen as critical. By December 2013, 92% of the Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPACs) had been established as oversight committees on municipal finances. The establishment of Municipal Public Accounts Committees, introduces additional checks and balances in municipal financial management and improves governance. Training and support for councillors who serve on these committees will be an ongoing process, but the successful establishment of these oversight committees, in the vast majority of the country's municipalities, is testimony to the commitment of municipalities and councillors to the continual improvements that are needed for good governance.

The implementation of the LGTAS has yielded a number of positive results and has pointed government directly to areas requiring further attention. A major report on the implementation of this strategy was presented to and approved by Cabinet in December 2013. Cabinet also endorsed the recommendations in support of the preparation of a Municipal Intervention Plan 2014-2019.
In all this our objective is simply expressed: It is to build strong municipalities that provide effective services; are able to spend their capital budgets, collect the revenues owing to them, and so deliver on their mandates.

The question is what have we done to achieve this, and do we have the tools to succeed? Let’s consider the facts:

We foster the work of the Municipal Demarcation Board. The Municipal Demarcation Board – DMB - is an independent authority responsible for the determination of municipal boundaries. The establishment of the DMB dates from February 1999. The Board is broadly responsible for the maintenance or modification of the changing local government spatial landscape. Since its inception the board has been involved in the consolidation of South Africa’s municipalities, by way of a process of re-demarcating boundaries. This has resulted in a reduction of municipal entities from more than 800 to the current 278. The number will be further reduced to 267 in 2016. A new board was installed on February 17th.

We administer the Municipal Infrastructure Grant

The Department of Cooperative Governance manages the MIG - the Municipal Infrastructure Grant programme, the largest local government infrastructure development funding in South Africa. The programme was introduced as part of major reforms implemented by government to improve service delivery involving all government spheres.
In the ten years since its implementation MIG has allocated and transferred an amount of over R76 billion to municipalities, and they in turn have reported an expenditure of R68 billion over the same period.

We introduce the concept of ward committees

Ward Committees are the voice of the people. To date ward committees have been established in 99.9% of our country’s 4277 wards. By integrating wards into the decision-making process we acknowledge the fact that the task of running public affairs is not entrusted to government alone, but is a sacred right of the people involved in the decisions, and that cooperative governance includes cooperation with the people. All government programmes should therefore find expression within the ward.  With this aim we conducted induction programmes for ward committee members across all provinces and recorded 99,7% participation.

We promote the Community Work Programme

The Community Work Programme is a key government initiative, facilitated by the Department, aimed at mobilising communities in order to provide regular and predictable work opportunities at the local level. Its purpose is to provide an employment safety net for those without access to opportunities designed to lift them out of poverty. The programme provides access to a minimum level of regular work: 2 days a week, 8 days a month and 100 days a year at a wage rate presently set at R71.00 a day. The programme recognises that policies to address unemployment and create decent work will take time to reach people living in marginalised areas where few opportunities exist. The CWP is now implemented in every district in the country, including the 23 Cabinet Priority Districts. The programme has been implemented in 76 of the department’s 105 priority municipalities in the short-term. In the medium-term, all municipalities in the country will have at least one CWP site. The department will spend R2.7 billion in the 2014/2015 period to create 332, 000 work opportunities, covering all municipalities. Against a target of 171,500 in the current financial year, the programme has created 206,000 work opportunities. Over the last five years the Community Work Programme has grown significantly:

  • In 2009/10 the Community Work Programme set a target of 10 000 participants, but reached 55 582 participants by the end of March 2010, exceeding its revised targets.
  • In 2010/11, the Community Work Programme reached 89 689 participants in 45 municipalities across nine provinces.  In this period 65% of the participants were women and 59% were young people.
  • In 2011/12, the Community Work Programme reached 105 218 participants far exceeding the targeted 69 120. 63 municipalities participated and 69% of the participants were women and 54% were young people.
  • In 2012/13, the Community Work Programme reached 204 494 participants against a target of 171 500 across 9 provinces, in 140 municipalities. 58% of the participants during this period were women and 54% were young people.
  • In 2013/14, the Community Work Programme reached 206 166 participants against a target of 172 000 across 9 provinces, in 140 municipalities. 64% of the participants during this period were women and 52% were young people. Final statistics for this reporting period will be established at the end of March 2014 when the current financial year ends.

The Community Work Programme CWP aims to create one million work opportunities by 2018/19 covering all local municipalities. The Department of Cooperative Governance will spend R2.2 billion in 2014/15 to provide 187 000 work opportunities, R2.5 billion in 2015/16 to provide 202 000 work opportunities and R3,7 billion in 2016/17 to provide one million work opportunities across all local municipalities.

We are Professionalising Local Government

In accord with the department’s aim of professionalising local public administration, it introduced a historic law in the form of “Regulations on the Appointment and Conditions of Employment of Senior Managers” and those managers reporting to them, which was gazetted on January 17th this year. The regulations tighten up the appointment and conditions of employment of senior managers in municipalities. In particular, they aim to strengthen governance and institutional systems by guiding municipalities in the appointment of senior managers, to ensure that their skills are fit for purpose. The regulations also provide for the creation of a database of managers who have been dismissed for misconduct or corrupt activities. This will prevent the rehire of unsuitable managers who may otherwise move on to other municipalities once dismissed or are subject to a disciplinary process. The regulations also require that managers declare their financial interests on a regular basis, and prohibit management from holding positions in political parties.

We have established the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA)

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) is a component of CoGTA developed to provide technical support and the building of sustainable technical capacity in municipalities which do not have the technical expertise necessary to deliver and manage suitable municipal infrastructure. Since its establishment in May 2012, MISA has:

  • Deployed highly skilled technical professionals in support of 77 municipalities in all provinces.  Approximately 922 municipal infrastructure projects are currently being accelerated by MISA Technical Experts: including over 500 projects connected with Water and Sanitation; 170 projects related to Roads; 58 projects to do with Electricity; 34 with Solid Waste, and over 150 other projects.
  • Trained 331 artisans placed in various municipalities to gain practical experience. 
  • Supported 23 Districts identified as priority areas for support to expand access to basic services. These Districts are being supported by MISA in collaboration with the various sector departments to enable them to unlock obstacles to the implementation of programmes and projects aimed at reducing service delivery backlogs.

We are home to the National Disaster Management Centre

As anyone can see, disaster strikes when we least expect it, and the role of the National Disaster Management Centre is – to expect it. The NDMC was established with the aim of promoting an integrated and coordinated disaster management and fire service, with special emphasis on prevention, mitigation and preparedness by national, provincial and municipal organs of state. 

The unit’s work includes:
-    Promptly responding to disasters and threatening incidents nationally, and providing support to international efforts in disaster response and recovery;
-    Collaboration on disaster management issues within the African Union and SADC;
-    Developing and implementing disaster management plans inclusive of plans from sector departments and other disciplines;

Beyond that the centre routinely engages with international counterparts in order to sustain best-practice. The NDMC participated in the third Global Platform for Disaster Reduction under the aegis of the UN’s international initiative for Disaster Reduction, and has played a key role in the COP17 preparations and post event programmes. It was responsible for disaster management preparedness during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and in 2012, hosted the second Understanding Risk Forum that brought more than 500 risk assessment experts from over 86 countries. Last year, the country hosted a disaster-free Africa Cup of Nations tournament and the successful CHAN – 3rd Orange African Nations Championship soccer tournament.

The Disaster Management Act of 2002 has been reviewed and a draft Amendment Bill has been developed in order to address the need for better coordination, more involvement of sectors, better mainstreaming in development policies, plans and programmes, more emphasis on preventive measures and consideration of the risks associated with climate change. It is expected that the Disaster Management Amendment Bill will be considered by Cabinet during 2014/15.

We are developing an Integrated Urban Development Framework for South Africa.

We are working in close collaboration with SALGA and the South African Cities Network in the development of this framework. This is the Integrated Urban Development Framework, and its objective is to provide an inter-departmental and intergovernmental approach to attain integrated urban development. It is a policy process to promote resilient and inclusive urban settlements. At this time, much of the world is having to deal with the issues pertaining to rapid urbanisation and we are no exception.

The critical role of the Department of Traditional Affairs

There are 8241 recognised traditional leaders in the country, including 11 kings and kingships, two principal traditional leaders, 829 senior traditional leaders, and 7399 headmen and headwomen. They represent a wide range of traditional values, and protecting these values is the job of the Department of Traditional Affairs, the DTA, which dates from 2009.  The Department’s mandate is informed by sections of the Constitution, notably those relating to culture, religion and linguistics; conscience; the right to worship; and the institution of traditional leadership. The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act dates from 2003, and a subsequent review of the Legislation affirms the leadership structures and communities of the Khoi and the San. The Traditional Affairs Bill will be tabled in Parliament after May elections. The National House of Traditional Leaders Act of 2009 established the Houses of traditional leaders. All provinces where there are traditional leaders have subsequently established structures of traditional leaders including Houses and Traditional Councils.

Traditional leadership as a whole has embraced the role of being a constructive force for transformation and local economic development, and leaders have also welcomed Gender representivity in all structures within the Institution.

In the 20 years since the dawn of democracy, and particularly over the last five years, the DTA has laid a sound foundation for accelerated work in affirming the cultural, linguistic and religious communities and their leadership institutions as a whole. The place and role of traditional leadership as organs of cultural, religious and linguistic manifestation is now well articulated.
We are establishing strong international relations.

In pursuit of a better Africa and a better world, the Department continues to play influential roles in African and world forums. We have linked with colleagues in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo to establish a Tripartite Mechanism on Dialogue and Co-operation. The areas of co-operation include local governance and development. We have established a Bi-National Commission with the Republic of Botswana for collaborations on the evolution of provinces and district municipalities, and for exchanges on Traditional Affairs. Our 5 year partnership with the Italian province of Tuscany has grown into a European Union-funded project “GET ANSWERS - Greening Economy through the Adoption of New Solution in the Waste and Energy Recovery Sector” We are cooperating with Germany on programmes of mutual interest including public service reform and Capacity Building for the three spheres of government, and other important issues.

We have strong links with and support from the UK, the UN, USAid,, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Norway and the European Commission. Our Membership of BRICS, and particularly our involvement in the Friendship Cities and Local Government Forum, provides us with a platform to ensure that the vision and experiences of our partnership and cooperation benefits our local communities.

Beyond that we participate actively in matters to do with SADC, the Commonwealth, in AMCOD - the All Africa Ministerial Conference on Decentralization and Local Development, and in United Cities and Local Government, Africa. On July 3, 2013, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Local Government in Palestine. This provides a framework for cooperation between the two countries in the fields of local governance and municipal development and is currently being implemented.

These are some of the tools we have in place in order to build the capacity and effectiveness of local government. With this backing, metropolitan municipalities have made significant progress in addressing service delivery backlogs. Yet despite the gathering momentum of these initiatives, there are service hiccups, followed in some cases, as we have recently seen, by protests, often accompanied by violence. I have made a special point, together with senior officials in the department, of attempting to visit these hot spots, wherever in the country they occur, in order to directly engage with communities.

Failure to deliver promised services is a trend that must and will be reversed during the next administration. Five key changes are envisaged, There will be:

1.    A focus on sector priorities in order to leverage the greatest impact. Here we are concerned with impacts on 4 levels:

  • The “Individual” level, which tackles the shortage of professional leadership, technical skills, high staff turnover and extended vacancies;
  • The “institutional” level, including corruption, the blurring of the political and administrative interface, weak financial management and lack of oversight and accountability; 
  • The “environmental” level , embracing increased emphasis on coordination of the work of sector department services that impact on a municipal space, on the clarification of matters connected to the delegation of municipal powers,  on gaps in bulk infrastructure and on the maintenance of a demanding regulatory environment; in short the creation of a climate in which CoGTA can fulfil its role and strengthen its focus on: 
  • The “macro-socio-economic” level, including addressing the pressures of urbanisation, rural underdevelopment, poverty, unemployment, inequalities, and weak public participation in local planning, and to better collectively address priorities for local areas, including physical design and modalities for service delivery.

2.    A drive to deepen the differentiated approach towards municipal governance, monitoring and support. The whole world is having to face up to growing levels of urbanisation and we are no exception; in fact our urbanisation levels are, in some areas, higher than world averages. Basically there are those who leave for the cities and those who remain behind; each have their own needs, and our actions need to be sensitive to both.
3.    A move to address gaps in the current monitoring, support and intervention environment. This calls for CoGTA to play a more assertive role; for sector departments to be more proactive in addressing the legislative and regulatory needs of local government; for a strengthening of the role of provincial departments; and for greater support of current programmes.
4.    Strong efforts to unlock both external blockages to municipal performance; and
5.    To address macro-socio-economic constraints.

Various methods will be employed to implement these improvements, and it is anticipated that CoGTA will set a brisk and realistic pace for the delivery of a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system.

In all of these endeavours CoGTA seeks to nourish and grow the harmonious intergovernmental relationship it has established across the three spheres of government ,in which each of the role players are respected for their integrity, and given the space and opportunity to do what they do best, in line with their constitutional mandates; and, in addition, to advance the productive partnership it fashioned with SALGA – the South African Local Government Association.

For despite many fierce challenges, all in all, we have come a long, long way in 20 years, miraculously so in many cases, since the effort started with the legacy of a virtually bankrupt state. We have achieved a lot, and we have done so by working together. That is what cooperative governance means – wholehearted cooperation between each sphere of government to achieve our shared and individual goals. And increasingly that includes intensive cooperation with new and evolving ICT disciplines, and their potential, not only to accelerate our efforts to improve local government, but also to communicate our plans and proposals to a wider audience.

The authors of the National Development Plan caution us all that an effective developmental state cannot materialise by decree or legislation; it has to be painstakingly built, maintained and sustained, and local government – inspired and motivated by strong and resourceful leadership -  needs to be placed at the centre of this national development effort, following a clear and consistent long-term strategy.

We have such a strategy; we are making progress; the team is extensive and its capabilities are strengthening; more resources are being placed at its disposal, the workload for the next five years is clearly mapped; we are involving those we seek to benefit more and more in the process, and consequently setting priorities that are citizen-centred.

We are building something here, something strong, something powerful. It is called a successful nation. And we have reason for optimism. Following twenty years of pursuing democratic values, many millions of South Africans are now enjoying a better life. Now, over the next sixteen years to 2030, it is our task to ensure that all South Africans are given the opportunity to grow and prosper as the workings of the National Development Plan fully unfold, and the benefits are shared by all our fellow citizens.
Won’t we have a story to tell then.

Thank you.

For Enquiries:
Tsakani Baloyi
Contact: 082 052 0892

Share this page
Similar categories to explore