24 August 2011
- SALGA National Conference 2011
- Fifth CPSI Public-Sector Innovation Conference
- Tourism Month
- State visit to the Kingdom of Norway
SALGA National Conference 2011
The South African Local Government Association (Salga) will be hosting its elective National Conference from 29 August to 1 September 2011. The conference is held under the theme: “Building Municipal and Social Cohesion for Quality and Sustainable Services: 2011 and Beyond”.
The Salga National Conference is a platform to strengthen municipalities and consolidate the association’s voice as a representative organ of municipalities.
- This conference is held every five years (after every local government election) to review progress made by municipalities in the delivery of services to communities.
- The conference is expected to have the majority of elected representatives being new to the process and to local government. Local government stalwarts and Salga leadership have served the communities well and have passed on the torch to new leaders.
- The conference will be attended by approximately 3 000 delegates, of whom more than 1 000 are representatives of 278 municipalities. It follows the successful local government elections held in May this year.
- The conference will also consider current issues facing South Africa such as climate change and preparations for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to be held in South Africa during November and December this year.
10 years of local government
- Salga has visibly grown in its representation of local government and has asserted itself as the sole representative voice of local government as mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
- Salga has built the reputation and profile of South African municipalities internationally and regionally, establishing partnerships that have seen shared municipal best practices and support systems.
- Access to basic services has improved over the past 10 years, seeing areas with no infrastructure beginning to receive access. Challenges are acknowledged and improvement is needed as we look forward to the new cadres in local government.
Addressing the challenges relating to the delivery of services and to restoring the confidence of communities in their municipalities,
- The Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS), with clear targets for 2014, is intended to stabilise local government and ensure that municipalities respond to the needs of their communities by delivering quality services in an efficient manner.
- Local government is everyone’s business. Municipalities can be made to work better for everyone by everyone. The structure of the local government system remains. Notwithstanding certain changes that may have to be effected, the overall architecture of the system of local government is still sound.
- The local government system is evolving. The new system of local government was always intended to be phased in over time and the current problems must be seen as part of an effort to learn and correct as we continue with implementation.
- An ideal municipality in our system will strive to contribute to building a developmental state in South Africa and draw from the constitutional and legal framework established. The role of councillors to ensure that the LGTAS is implemented in the manner that it was intended therefore becomes an uncompromising priority.
Municipalities intend to make good on government’s strong will and commitment to improve and steer local government towards a clean administration to better the lives of all South Africans.
- Salga headed the Councillor Induction Programme and Handbook as a programme aimed at appropriately equipping councillors with the required knowledge and expertise.
- It is important for the leadership of respective municipalities’ to champion constant monitoring and evaluation as well as to impose relevant sanctions where there are deviations from internal control.
- Government’s priority since 1994 has been to meet the basic needs of the millions of South Africans living in poverty. In line with the millennium development goals, government’s target is to ensure that by 2014, all households have access to the minimum standard for each basic service.
- A related 2014 goal is to decrease unemployment and poverty by half. By obtaining labour-intensive services and the use of labour-intensive methods to maintain and build infrastructure, municipalities can broaden participation in the local economy and create work opportunities for the poor.
Clean administration at all municipalities by 2014 is still an achievable target that requires the leadership to set the right tone and lead the movement towards ultimate clean administration in their municipalities.
- The Auditor-General presented the inaugural Clean Audit Awards to seven municipalities that had achieved the ultimate clean administration, as measured by audit reports for the 2009/10 financial year.
- These seven municipalities have made it a way of life to perform daily, monthly and quarterly reconciliations of their financial records.
Mpumalanga’s Ehlanzeni district municipality, Steve Tshwete and Victor Khanye municipalities, the City of Cape Town, the district municipalities of Metsweding (Gauteng) and Frances Baard (Northern Cape), and the local municipality of Fetakgomo (Limpopo).
Fifth CPSI Public-Sector Innovation Conference
The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), in line with its mandate of unlocking innovation in the public sector, hosts an annual conference as a platform that exposes public servants and their strategic partners to innovation opportunities and strategies through sharing related knowledge and experiences.
The theme for the 2011 conference from 24 to 25 August 2011 is “Innovation Enhancing Public Sector Performance – From ‘Think Tank’ to ‘Do Tank’.
There is an urgent need to prioritise the implementation of innovative service-delivery solutions, especially at local government level.
- The theme urges a move beyond conceptualisation and deliberation, to getting things done and taking real action in response to identified service-delivery challenges.
- The numerous protests witnessed in the last few months are surely a testimony to the growing impatience of our citizens and are thus an impetus for the public sector to find innovative approaches to overcome backlogs, governance challenges and resource constraints.
- The recent local government elections offer the public sector an opportunity to regroup and refocus for action that leads to a positive impact at grassroots level.
The conference targets innovation practitioners, service-delivery champions and decision- makers throughout all spheres of government as well as partners from the private sector and the academia, both local and international.
- Delegates will be exposed to a successful institutional approach in inculcating an innovative culture. Presentations from institutional leaders will reflect on initiatives, experiences and challenges from their sectors.
- There will also be illustrative case studies which showcase successful local innovations that contribute to local development and public-sector transformation.
- Another highlight includes exposure to a Southern African Development Community expert who will share continental experiences of leaders driving and nurturing innovation in their own service-delivery areas.
Objectives of the conference include:
- to demonstrate the role and centrality of innovation as a tool for responding to current government priorities and for anticipating citizens’ changing needs
- to collaboratively explore key elements of successful implementation and sustaining innovative programmes to enhance public-sector performance
- to facilitate the sharing of innovative perspectives and practices that respond to service- delivery priorities for replication.
South Africa celebrates Tourism Month in September under the World Tourism Day 2011 international theme of “Tourism Linking Cultures”, which is a celebration of tourism’s role in breaking down barriers across cultures and fostering tolerance, respect and mutual understanding. The 2011 launch will take place on 25 August 2011 at Freedom Park in Pretoria and all activities over the month will be underpinned by the objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), which was launched in March 2011.
South Africa’s rich cultural diversity offers both local and international visitors an opportunity to experience a wide variety of cultures in one country.
- According to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2011, South Africa is ranked 55 out of 139 destinations in the world as a country rich in cultural resources.
- Cultural tourism helps promote intercultural dialogue and ensures that local communities fully participate in, and benefit from, the development opportunities of tourism.
- Government calls on the tourism industry to act in a way that is conscious and respectful of all cultures. Income from cultural tourism is often redirected towards the safeguarding of local cultural sites and even assists in the revitalisation of cultures.
- South Africa’s culture heritage extends across the country from galleries to rock art centres, museums and cultural villages, showcasing the traditions of indigenous cultural communities and their values and lifestyle.
Cultural tourism is growing in popularity and South Africans are encouraged to support the domestic tourism sector by visiting the many cultural areas in all provinces.
- South Africans list cultural experiences as an important reason for travelling domestically with 19% of domestic travellers in 2009 having sought cultural activities compared to 9% in 2007.
- South African Tourism has invested R30 million on the latest phase of the Sho’t Left Campaign, which highlights the diversity of experiences available to domestic travellers in all provinces.
- Cultural tourism will help entrench local tourism among South Africans and raise domestic tourism’s contribution to the tourism economy. Research indicates that domestic tourism tends to be the main sustainability factor of most successful destinations.
- South Africa aims to increase the number of domestic trips from 30,9 million in 2009 to 54 million by 2020. This will increase the domestic tourism gross domestic product (GDP) to 60% of tourism’s overall contribution to GDP, compared to the 2009 baseline of 52%.
Initiatives and activities during Tourism Month will bring the NTSS targets to life.
- Domestic tourism, a key aspect of the strategy, will be promoted through the Sho’t Left Campaign by all tourism stakeholders who will highlight the diversity of experiences available to domestic travellers in all provinces.
- The National Tourism Careers Expo will promote people development and job creation by providing a platform for the youth, especially young learners in high schools, tertiary students and unemployed graduates.
- The Tourism Service Excellence Initiative ensures that visitors receive a memorable experience that encourages repeat visits through word-of-mouth marketing. The aim will be to deliver tourist experiences that equal or surpass the expectations of foreign and domestic tourists alike.
- A national visitor satisfaction index is being established for foreigners and locals, through which service issues hampering domestic tourism in particular, such as attitudes, will be tracked and addressed.
- More people are being encouraged to visit and spend bed nights in rural areas by, among other things, enhancing the supply of rural tourism products that attract customers and earn revenue.
Tourism is one of the six priority economic growth sectors identified by government to impact on job creation positively between now and 2020.
- South Africa envisages an increase of some five million foreign tourist arrivals and 3,4 million domestic tourists, which will have a positive impact on the local economy.
- Tourism is a key pillar of the South African economy and the country aims to increase its total (direct and indirect) contribution of GDP to R499 billion in 2020 from R189,4 billion in 2009.
- The sector aims to create 177 000 direct and indirect employment opportunities by 2020 and another 48 000 directly linked to government programmes, totalling 225 000 jobs by the year 2020.
- The Department of Tourism aims to attract R35 billion more from public-sector/government investment in tourism infrastructure and R1 billion more from foreign direct investment in the sector, as well as to increase private-sector capital formation for tourism-related products.
State visit to the Kingdom of Norway
President Jacob Zuma will pay a state visit to the Kingdom of Norway from 31 August to 1 September 2011 with the aim of strengthening North-South dialogue. Discussions between President Zuma and His Majesty King Harald V will focus on maintaining existing strong relations. King Harald V paid a state visit to South Africa from 24 to 26 November 2009.
South Africa is committed to deepening existing political, economic and trade relations with Norway.
- Existing strong bilateral relations with Norway are based on historical ties from the liberation movements during the struggle for democracy in South Africa and a common outlook on global issues. South Africa and Norway stand together in the promotion and strengthening of democracy, good governance and human rights.
- During the previous state visit, agreements signed included the Declaration of Intent on Bilateral Cooperation 2010 – 2014, which includes, among other things, the importance of partnerships in Africa and trilateral cooperation as well as climate change.
- Fundamental to trade relations between both countries is the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which was extended by Norway to South Africa on 6 May 1994 for the importation of goods from developing countries. The GSP enables goods to be imported by Norway from South Africa without passing through the normal customs duties.
- South African exports to Norway increased from R1 696 649 in 2009 to R2 326 796 in 2010. Imports from Norway decreased slightly from R927 939 000 in 2009 to R853 033 000 in 2010.
South Africa and Norway are committed to the consolidation of the African Agenda and remain committed to achieving global priorities.
- Conflict prevention, the search for peaceful resolution of conflicts, and sustainable use of natural resources, alleviation of poverty and combating global climate change, are all areas of common concern and commitment, which create a sound basis for continued and enhanced cooperation in Africa and globally, within the framework of the United Nations (UN).
- Norway’s strong commitment towards Africa and its development is illustrated through its development cooperation both bilaterally and through the European Union (EU). South Africa will host the next SA-EU Summit in September 2011.
- Norway’s development cooperation contribution to South Africa for the period 2005 to 2009 was over R25 million. Norway is one of the few countries to reach the official UN target for official development assistance which is 0,7% of Gross National Income.
- Norway and South Africa have been cooperating in the environment field since 1996. During the Norwegian state visit, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Sasol and Gassnova on the Norwegian involvement in carbon capture and storage.
South Africa will host the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which serves as the seventh meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol, taking place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to sustainable development and demands that Durban at least puts in place necessary building blocks to deliver a balanced agreement that takes historical responsibilities into account.
South Africa to seek input on new financial market rules
The Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, announced that government and key stakeholders would move to develop a road map for the implementation of the proposed “twin-peaks model” of financial regulation in the coming months. The changes are key to further strengthening the regulatory architecture and to mitigate the cost of any potential future financial crises.
World Wide Fund (WWF) salutes South Africa's extended freeze on fracking
The WWF has welcomed South Africa's extended freeze on shale gas prospecting, saying more investigation was needed on the process. This follows an announcement by the Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu, to extend the existing moratorium for six months.
Johannesburg confirmed as finalist in race to host the One Young World 2012
South Africa has been shortlisted to the final round in the running to host the One Young World 2012. The One Young World founders confirmed that the bids are from the cities of Pittsburgh, United States of America, and Johannesburg. The winner will be announced on Saturday, 3 September 2011.
International relations and trade
Ghana, South Africa to bolster economic ties
South Africa and Ghana have signed various trade agreements aimed at fostering better socio and economic partnerships. The two presidents discussed cooperation in the following key bilateral priority areas: trade, tourism, communications technology, energy, mining, agriculture and science and technology.
Safety and security
Mthethwa opens country's first Victim Care Centre
The Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, has officially opened the Umlazi Victim Care Centre. All police stations across the country will be equipped with victim care centres by 2014 to assist victims of sexual violence. The new facility comes as a relief to trauma victims as it boasts medical and counselling facilities. All volunteers have undergone extensive training to deal with victims of sexual abuse.
Department of Health adopts declaration to encourage breast-feeding
The national Department of Health has adopted a declaration that will encourage mothers to breast-feed their children instead of using formula. The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, alluded to the development of regulations to enforce the international code of marketing breast-milk substitutes. By adopting the World Health Organisation's recommendation of breast-feeding, government will be saving R200 million in dispensing formula milk annually.
Young engineers roped in
Twenty-seven previously unemployed young engineers, artisans and professionals were recruited from the over 9 000 applications sent in response to the Department of Public Works’ calls to address skills shortages within its ranks.
Quality education drive launched
In an effort to improve education and attain better results in the Free State, the provincial Department of Education has launched the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) in all five districts. The QLTC’s main objective is to sensitise the community, teachers, pupils, school-governing bodies and unions to abide by the objectives of the campaigns as outlined by President Jacob Zuma when he launched the campaign nationally in 2008.
Department of Trade and Industry (dti) sets up new youth entrepreneurial unit
The dti has established a Youth Directorate that will deal with entrepreneurship issues affecting young businesspeople and aspiring entrepreneurs. A variety of programmes to support youth entrepreneurship programmes are in the pipeline, including mentorship and coaching, business incubation, assistance to access markets and business infrastructure support.