Address by the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, honourable Sicelo Shiceka, on the occasion of the Budget Vote in Parliament 23 June 2009 President of the Republic of South Africa, Honourable J G Zuma Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Kgalema Motlanthe Cabinet Ministers present Honourable Members of Parliament Distinguished Premiers, MECs and Mayors Traditional leaders present Members of the National Executive Committee of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson and leadership of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Elected Public Office Bearers from Provincial and Local Government Representatives from business Representatives from organised labour Key partners and stakeholder bodies Distinguished guests Ladies and gentlemen Introduction During the State of Nation Address debate earlier this month, we declared to Parliament that the Ministry and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will diligently perform its role as the “Choir Conductor” of our system of cooperative governance. Today we come to this august house and the nation with the symbol that will define our mandate and style of cooperative governance over the next five years, i.e. the Choir Conductor’s Stick. This stick will symbolise our collective commitment to work together in new ways in government and with those outside of government. We pledge to perform this role with one over riding objective, that is, to create decent jobs and better the lives of our people through partnerships and cooperative ways of working together. This new administration, under President Zuma, is convinced that through effective coordination across Government as a whole, and acting in harmony with communities, we can accelerate service delivery and sustainable development. It is for this reason that today we will reflect more closely on our Choir Conductor’s role. This will include looking at: * what is expected from our choristers in government and in civil society * the main factors and risks that can create disharmony and discord * when and how to deal with choristers who are not keeping tune or singing according to the song sheet * indicating when we intend to sing at full volume and when we will sing in soft and pleasing tones * how we intend to get feedback from the audience, and
* how the audience can continue to enjoy our melodious music in their homes, schools, places of work, places of worship and social clubs. Honourable speaker It is our understanding that the Department of Provincial and Local Government is no more. This old Department focused more on local government to the neglect of provincial government and traditional leadership. Today we are introducing the new Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Leadership. This department has a new and expanded mandate which will see a greater focus on: * improved vertical coordination across the three spheres of government and public entities * greater horizontal coordination across the various sectors in government and public entities * better strengthening, supporting and overseeing provincial government * improved collaboration between government and communities, and * strengthening our focus on the institution of traditional leadership in our single system of governance. We know that all government services, whether it is home affairs, housing, health or policing, happen within local communities. This puts local government at the centre of service delivery. It is against this background that the new Department will focus on making the whole of government work better. This means that we must have a special focus on local government. Historical and present context We have a compelling and urgent mandate. It is compelling because despite the progress made over the past 15 years, government has failed to address the legacy of apartheid decisively. We are still faced with deep rooted poverty and unemployment, rising inequality, large infrastructure backlogs and poor service delivery in many areas. The global financial crisis and current economic recession is compounding these development challenges for our communities and further restraining the limited capacity of government. One of the big lessons of the last 15 years is that cooperative governance is a precondition for the South African Developmental State. This means a greater involvement of people in the development process and in matters of governance. Furthermore the state must play a more active role in the economy and in taking care of the poorest of the poor in society. Our view is that the South African Developmental State must be characterised by: * directing development through a common vision * improved state leadership, technical and organisational capacity and capability * faster service delivery * outcomes-based cooperative governance, which means focusing on making the lives of people better * not simply engaging in technocratic exercises, but rather in a revolutionary
approach that will require a “revocratic” (not bureaucratic) and activistic demeanour on the part of our public representatives and officials, and * mobilising resources and work with partners, stakeholders and communities in developing and executing programmes effectively. Reflection on past performance An honest reflection of our past performance highlights important achievements, yet major shortcomings and weaknesses. For example, “Project Consolidate” had a direct impact on improving access to basic services. In 2004 when the initiative was launched there were 155 municipalities where 60% of households were without access to water in their yards or dwellings. By 2008 this was reduced to 115 municipalities. In 2004, we had 203 municipalities where 60% of households did not have access to sanitation at the level of a flush toilet. This was reduced to 150 municipalities. There were 122 municipalities where 60% of households did not have access to electricity. This was reduced to 45. Notwithstanding these gains, the primary weakness of Project Consolidate was that it was technocratically driven with inadequate political oversight and buy-in. In 2006, Cabinet approved the Five Year Local Government Strategic Agenda (2006 to 2011) to intensify government wide hand on support to accelerate alignment of government programmes in municipalities. This also yielded significant gains. The implementation of this agenda has seen steady progress in the five key performance areas. For example: * the appointment of Municipal Managers increased from 78% in 2006 to 89% by the end of 2008 * the number of section 57 managers with performance agreements increased from 58% to 68% * the number of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) appointed increased slightly from 83% to 87% * the establishment of performance audit committees also increased from 65% to 78% * there is also a recorded improvement in the quality of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), and * there has also been an increase in the number of municipalities able to spend 100% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). By the close of the municipal financial year the reported spending of this grant has been in excess of 95% for the past few years. Despite this progress the sustainability and effectiveness of these interventions remains questionable and insufficient. The way resources are used and the scale and quality of infrastructure delivered must be scrutinised. The lack of national and provincial sector department involvement in the IDP processes remains a challenge and the quality of guidance and direction provided to municipalities is somewhat disjointed and poor. In addition to the above, there was no dedicated programme on supporting provincial government. Past initiatives, such as the one in the Eastern Cape, were ad hoc, not sustainable and as a result achieved minimal impact.
We are therefore saying that the choristers in government have not all sang according to the same song sheet. The dual legacy of apartheid and weak cooperative governance during our 15 years of democracy Honourable members We also need to be self critical as the Choir Conductor. Our assessment is that the former Department of Provincial and Local Government failed to appropriately position it to play the “Choir Conductor” role. The department primarily confined itself to a narrow focus on local government and did not effectively address the causal systemic and accountability problems in this sphere. Furthermore, it did not resolve the fractures in inter-sphere relations as they relate to achieving cohesion and integrated development in municipal areas. The result has been a discordant choir producing dreadful music and not fulfilling the needs of its audience. This is demonstrated by the example of the OR Tambo District in Eastern Cape. With a large population of close to 1,7 million people (370 336 households), the district has large infrastructure backlogs revealing the huge spatial inequality in South Africa. In 2004, the household access to water was 28% compared to the provincial average of 62,7% and the national average of 85%. Similarly with sanitation, the household access in the district was 47,1% compared to the provincial average of 63,8% and the national average of 82,7%. This district, which is a Water Service Authority (WSA), has reported that they have spent 100% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) transferred to them over the period 2004-2008. Whilst this translates to over R1,7 billion, the reduction in the backlogs are minimal. The MIG allocation alone to the district for the next three years amounts to R1,8 billion. Although targeted as a rural node for government intervention and despite the growing resources allocated, the impact on the backlogs are minimal and the district remains one of the poorest in the country. The poverty rate is 78,2%. This compares with the provincial average of 62%. Amongst the 15to 65 year age group, 67,3% are unemployed. It is a crying shame that after 15 years of democracy parts of our country such as the OR Tambo district, still reflects the legacy of apartheid and the unacceptable face of under-development, poverty and marginalisation. Our governance system has failed to muster a common vision and implementation programme to honour the contribution that this district has made to freedom and democracy in South Africa. This district has produced our two world class democratic leaders and statesmen Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. It also produced the 32 Pondoland martyrs of Ingquza who were hanged in the gallows in Pretoria because of their resistance against white minority rule.
How is it that after 15 years of freedom, government services have not reached these communities in a meaningful way? How is it that after 15 years of freedom the villages where struggle heroes such as Chris Hani and Sabelo Pama came from, remain neglected with rising levels of poverty? The example of OR Tambo district is not an isolated one. A similar situation exists in many other parts of the country. Despite the many promises made and delivered upon by our democratic government, there remains a litany of unkept promises to communities. All over the country, communities complain about not having easy access to government services in close proximity to where they live. Weaknesses and constraints to cooperative governance Honourable speaker Unfortunately, these failures overshadow the achievements of government over the past 15 years. Therefore, they need to be critically assessed. We believe that national and provincial departments keep themselves too far removed from the reality of how even their own development projects are realised and implemented on the ground. Many times the policies and programmes conceptualised at national level do not reach execution stage. The main reason is that these interventions are not sufficiently prioritised and ring fenced within the inter-governmental budgeting and implementation system. The sectoral focus and budget prioritisation of national and provincial line departments are not aligned with the spatial development priorities of other national and provincial departments and municipalities. In fact, the budgets of line departments often cannot be broken up spatially and therefore it is difficult to monitor in which areas money ought to have been spent in. The failure of effective participation of national and provincial sector departments in IDP processes is related to the fact that there is limited thought and application of spatial prioritisation of plans and budgets. However, it is important to note that some of these failures described here have nothing to do with cooperative governance. It is rather about the failure of individual institutions or the failure of individuals within institutions to perform their basic tasks satisfactorily. The core problem in these instances speaks to the lack of public sector performance excellence and accountability. In addition, despite the strong policy and legal focus on good governance and community participation, there is still mistrust between communities and government at all levels, especially at local government level. The results of the Government Performance Barometer conducted by Markinor and quoted in the 15th Year Review indicate that by 2008 there was a “faltering trust in government, parliament, political parties and the justice system after some years of growing confidence.” The Barometer measures public approval of government’s handling of corruption, appointments and transparency. The extent of the breakdown in trust is so grave that it is placing our democratic state at risk. There are citizens that are using these failures to undermine
government by deliberately withholding rates and taxes and using these funds to deliver services themselves. Whilst government has established structures such as Ward Committees and appointed Community Development Workers (CDWs) to help improve communication and access to government services, these initiatives continue to be a source of tension and conflict. It impacts negatively on service delivery and heightens instances of grievances and service delivery protests. Historical context of the fourth term of democratic government Esteemed members It is important to refresh our understanding of the evolution of our democratic state in order to act correctly and decisively in the fourth term of democracy (2009 to 2014). This reflection is also important in providing a context for our system of cooperative governance. The first five years of democracy (1994 to 1999) by and large represented the establishment of the democratic state. This was the period in which the Constitution was finalised and many policies and laws were enacted. It was also the period in which most of the focus was on establishing and stabilising the national and provincial spheres of government. Democracy was deepened in the second five years of democracy (1999 to 2004) with the establishment of the new local government system. Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) in this second period remained very tentative and timid as National and Provincial departments attempted to fit the new local government system into their policy and delivery frameworks. The third period from 2004 to 2009 saw both a strengthening of IGR with the enactment and implementation of the IGR Framework Act (2005), but also a realisation that in practice cooperative governance remained voluntary, un-strategic and un-focussed. During this period there was also growing recognition of the unequal capacities in different municipalities. The perceived tension between a decentralised local government system on one hand and the stronger national coordinating capacity in the context of a Developmental State on the other also came to the fore. National and provincial line departments became bolder in their regulatory and delivery roles with at times complementing local government authority and capacity and at other times undermining local government. These tensions must be managed in a reformed system of cooperative governance. In our view, there is, however, no contradiction in strengthening our developmental local government system as part of a Democratic Developmental State. In fact, it is a pre-requisite. The challenge lies in effectively regulating and allocating powers and functions across and within the three spheres of government that is aligned to the differentiated capacities that may exist in different line departments, provinces and municipalities.
Our strategic priorities and posture in the fourth term Our strategic posture is guided by the imperative of building a developmental state. We are also guided by the urgent imperative of turning around local government by 2011. It is our intention that by 2011 and 2014 we should have achieved the following: a) Complaints by people regarding local government are reduced significantly by 2011 b) Municipal debt, which has increased to more than R41 billion, is reduced by half by 2014 c) Greater progress in working towards a debt-free society, by promoting a culture of saving and paying for services d) All municipalities should have clean audits by 2014 e) Fraud and corruption in municipalities are reduced to a minimum by 2011, f) Clean cities, through the management of waste in such a way that it creates employment and wealth by 2014. The establishment and maintenance of People’s Parks is one such example g) Ward Committees should be given the necessary powers and resources to develop and implement a Ward Development Plan by 2011 h) There is increased and effective monitoring of service providers by public representatives, officials and communities i) Trained and competent councillors, traditional leaders, officials, Ward Committee members, CDWs and community activists by 2014 j) A reformed regime of remuneration and provision for tools and trade for councillors, Ward Committee members and CDWs by 2011 k) The number of service delivery protests are reduced significantly, and l) Thusong Centres become the face of cooperative governance in our local communities. We have identified five strategic priorities for this current electoral term (20092014). Firstly, we will build and strengthen cooperative governance in a Developmental State to ensure that by the end of the Second Decade of Freedom there is universal access to basic services and more adequate infrastructure for economic development. Our approach to this priority will entail balance of sustained practical support and targeted interventions where required. The training and capacity building of councillors and local government practitioners will receive special attention. Very soon we will unveil a pilot programme in this regard. We have already intervened to address the governance problems in municipalities in the North West province and in the Eastern Cape. We have gone on provincial road shows interacting directly with the leadership of Provinces and various stakeholders including traditional leaders and ward committees. Secondly, we will demand greater accountability and discipline from all choristers, especially those in the public sector. The Department will promote clean government and develop a high level of responsiveness, accountability at national, provincial and local government levels. For both provincial and local government we will drive a “2014 Clean Audit Campaign”. Provincial government must set aside dedicated financial and other resources to ensure the success of this campaign. This will be
complemented by the establishment of an inspectorate to monitor and ensure compliance. We will also launch a Revenue Collection Campaign to ensure better payment for services and to address the impact of the global financial crisis. Thirdly, we will play a more hands on support role so that service delivery and development are accelerated and that vulnerable groups receive targeted and tailored support by provinces and municipalities. We have already completed a study that shows that there is an estimated upgrade and maintenance backlog worth R55 billion if we are to ensure basic services and economic growth into the future. In Gauteng, for example, the waste water treatment works are running beyond capacity at 102%. We also already initiated the Pondoland Revival project to address the sad legacy of underdevelopment in the OR Tambo District. We are working together with national departments, relevant organs of state, the Eastern Cape provincial Government as well as the OR Tambo District Municipality and the Inquza Hills Local Municipality. Fourthly, we will also assist the Institution of traditional leadership to transform itself and be a key partner with government in the development of communities in rural areas. We need to build the developmental capacity of the institution and ensure that they function as part of our single system of governance. Finally, we will foster development partnerships, social cohesion and community mobilisation to give full meaning to cooperative governance by unleashing the energy and resources of civil society to build the country. Across these five priorities we will drive a carefully crafted and sequenced legislative reform programme between 2009 and 2014. In implementing these five priorities, our posture over the current term will be defined by urgency, activism, coalface dedication, and impatience with incompetence and a ruthless mission to root out corruption. Immediate tasks Honourable chairperson We want to undertake several urgent tasks. We view the Institution of Traditional Leadership as central to cooperative governance and development, especially rural development. We will urgently review the Bill on Disputes and Claims relating to traditional leaders. We will also review the Municipal Property Rates Act and support the EDI process to the extent that it does not threaten the livelihoods of the poor and the sustainability of our municipalities. A critical and immediate task is to craft a national State of Municipalities Report to underpin the local government turnaround strategy that must be prepared in the next three months.
We will improve the department’s physical footprint and presence in all provinces to work across the spectrum of provincial functions and to work with provincial Local Government departments in implementing and sustaining the Local Government turnaround. Where there is a failure in governance, weak implementation or non-compliance we will decisively intervene to ensure that the mandate of the electorate is implemented. We will enter into a close working relationship and collaborative partnership with the National Planning Commission in the Presidency as we carry out our task of making sure that planning occurs within a cooperative governance framework. Our task will be to drive, manage and oversee the implementation of the National Development Plan, principally in provincial and local government. We will conclude the discussions in the next few weeks with the Ministry for Rural Development on the future of the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme (ISRDP). We will also finalise an agreement with the Department of Human Settlements and National Treasury on a framework for aligning key built environment conditional grants such as the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, the Housing Grant, and the Neighbourhood Partnership Development Grant. Conclusion: Leadership in action In conclusion, we want this House to note that we have already embarked on a number of in initiatives both to improve our system of cooperative governance and to restore integrity, accountability and compliance within our institutions. This past weekend we spent three days with our strategic partners to get feedback on our expanded mandate. I am pleased to announce that we committed ourselves to work together tirelessly over the next five years. In this regard, a primary task for my ministry and department, as the choir conductor of our system of cooperative governance, will be the need to create a single window for coordination and orchestration. We need to address the fragmentation and inconsistent regulation and application of programmes by national and provincial departments as they relate to Local Government. A fundamental principle of cooperative governance that will guide our work over the next five years is that we all have rights and responsibilities to make the system effective, efficient and responsive. Honourable members It would be remiss of me to ignore the biggest global soccer spectacle currently being played out on African soil for the first time in human history. It is an indication that Africa’s time has arrived. I want to congratulate all our provinces and especially Host Cities that have done extremely well in successfully hosting the Confederations Cup thus far. This exhilarating showpiece, including the outstanding performance of our own national soccer team, is an inspiration for all South Africans to gear up for the ultimate global FIFA World Cup event that we will host next year. We must ensure
that improvements by our cities to public transportation, traffic management, marshalling and Park and Ride facilities are addressed. We want to extend an invitation to all South Africans to join our choir that seeks to build a better life for all. I thank you. Issued by: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs 23 June 2009