Address by the Chief Whip at the Caucus Lekgotla held at Khaya IBhubesi on the 20 - 22 February 2013

Cllr DE TshabalalaFellow compatriots we meet just after a month the ANC having concluded its National Conference business which was held at Mangaung to get the reports both organizational and political speaking about the road traversed for the past five years both organizationally and in government as to are we still in line with the goals and targets we had set ourselves in 2008 at a conference which held in Limpopo.

Many thought this conference will be a catastrophic conference to the life of the ANC noting the abnormalities we witnessed in Limpopo during the 52 Conference. Yes comrades many thought this conference will give birth to another opposition party formed by the ANC dissidents but this was never the case as it became a watershed and an incident free conference which saw the movement taking very radical resolutions which must see the light of day in the coming five years.

I wish to reiterate what I said in Caucus held in January 2013 that this caucus albeit different leadership preferences by its members kept to high level of discipline at all material times as we showed high level of maturity which was guided by the unity of purpose hence we were a force to be reckoned with at council level given our unity.

As the chairperson of caucus I wish make a clarion call to all of us to maintain such spirit in soldiering on towards the Metro status. Yes I wish to concede that contradictions will forever persist because we are not homogenous in thinking but what is paramount is how we manage those contradictions by the way I collective with contradictions as a healthy collective as how they manage those contradictions defines their true relations that is without hypocrisy.

Fellow compatriots this unity I talk about is not foreign to this caucus as we were able to separate issues and mange them accordingly towards the regional conference. We went to the regional conference united in spirit but differing in viewpoint and that we respected hence it did not affect us immensely in caucus and for that I hail this Emfuleni local municipality caucus.

Comrades both the regional and National conferences has presented us with very profound resolutions which we should take them and ensure that we adopt them in our programs of government This will include our IDP program to be aligned with the national Development Plan as the key strategic document of both the ANC and government.

Through this caucus the Executive Mayor must strive for social cohesion programs which will respond to the nation building initiatives, this I say noting that our community was divided for some time along creed which as the ruling party in government were caught wanting when it was expected of us to provide direction to the community of Emfuleni. Comrades this should serve as a lesson so that history does not repeat itself wherein we find society leading itself in the absence of the African National Congress, it is important that we revive structures that will guard this revolution i.e. active street committees, active ward committees, active School Governing Bodies, Street Patrollers etc.

These are the structures that must be led by people who understand their course in the struggle not people who will use these structures as part of poverty alleviation initiatives as that will be dire to the revolution which we cannot afford not now, not tomorrow not ever as long as we have not achieved the strategic objective of the national Democratic Revolution ‘Building a non-racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. In essence these people should serve as agents in defense of the revolutions until we become the National Democratic Society.

Nobhala I wish to mention that there are many resolutions from both conferences that we must be pragmatic as the ANC led municipality hence I wish to make a call that we read them as they are part of packages, understand them and interpret them better without contradiction.

Caucus

I wish to mention without fear of self contradiction that the ANC Caucus remains the strategic centre of power in the municipality, nothing and I repeat nothing should fly without proper workshop by caucus. Secondly is that there is only one caucus in Emfuleni Local Municipality under one Chief Whip and under one Whippery, nothing exist outside this caucus.

Comrades this remain the caucus of the ANC which derives its existence and mandate from the ANC and all of us must tow the line. We all come to caucus carrying the mandate of the ANC, anything else either coming from the MDM structures or elsewhere must come to caucus through proper structures of the ANC.

I must make mention though that so far the Emfuleni Local Municipality caucus remains solid with its own dynamics which as I said remain healthy contradictions that seek to do nothing but to unite this caucus. Nobhala you are once more assured that this caucus leaves to the concept of the Activist Caucus as so far in the level of caucus we have managed to review policies which is a step in the right direction.

Fundamental to everything is that this caucus have adopted the Manifesto of the ANC as a key strategic document that must inform our Integrated Development Plans and ultimately our Service Delivery Budget Implementation Plans. This Manifesto remains a key monitoring and evaluation tool that must be employed at material times be it in the study groups or lekgotla as to gauge ourselves accordingly.

Whippery

I wish to report to the Lekgotla that in the period under review Whippery has held one strategic session where in it was doing assessment of the Lekgotla resolutions in terms of implementation to determine where there is a need to change a pace gear, got understand how performance management as a department introduced to transform this institution operate, I can with confidence Nobhala report that this whippery can now better interpret the IDP as they ex[posed IDP processes through the workshop that we arranged through the office, This whippery now understands how Internal Audit interface with performance management towards clean audit and is surely behind the Operation Clean Audit ‘OPCA’ as a program not only meant for officials but that we as politicians have to champion as part of oversight.

Fellow councilors surely you are aware that for the first time in the history of this municipality the office to whippery in a four year course inclusive of the introduction phase. This course is aimed at making sure that whippery become highly capacitated in municipal processes so they champion service delivery as chairpersons of study groups.

Above this as whippery we have had two oversight visits to all the unfinished projects within the municipality.

  • •    Dickinson Park –It discovered that that the project is delayed due construction matter of your poor workmanship which leads to rising construction budget
  • Trinity church in Sprinkol – A church built in municipal land and the community writing petitions to that effect. That gave an indication that as the municipality we still are not doing well in our petition’s system
  • Rus-te-Vaal pay point – The working conditions are not conducive safety being an issue and other labor relations matter. Sure if we can give attention to this pay point, Vereeniging and other revenue collection areas then we shall be able to collect more as the municipality
  • Palm Springs hall and Evaton Library – Both these project took more than their budgeted time in terms of completion and that has financial implications on the side of the municipality hence the need to review and transform our own Project Management Unit ‘PMU’
  • Informal trading at Machaeneng, Thabong Plaza, Evaton Plaza and Palm Springs Plaza. I plead with caucus that in this lekgotla we need to be resolute on the Local Economic Strategy as we still do not have it as Emfuleni. One begins to wonder what really informs development when we do not have a coherent strategy as the last strategy was developed in 2002

Comrades I raise so that as we go to plenary we are able to take stock and say what radical resolutions can we take as this caucus. Nobhala I wish to indicate that as whippery we are not without challenges as above everything that we have done as an office to empower whippery so that it is able to understand and interpret issue accurately we still have chairpersons of study groups who are:

  • Power shy indicating that MMC at times are not able to be held accountable at the study group level
  • Lazy to read which becomes a problem to say how do chair a study group when you yourself do not understand issues
  • One or two playful and ill-discipline members of the whippery who arrive late in caucus and in whippery, do not attend whippery
  • Section 79 committees which are wrongly placed in the office of the Chief Whip which makes it problematic when convening them.Comrades here I refer to your GEYODI which is located in the office of the Executive Mayor wherein by right it must be located in the office of the Speaker of council as the Mayor is the executive and cannot perfom an oversight on herself but legislature must in this regard, here I refer to your Petitions Committee which is not living according to its turnaround time as stated in the policy but we must say we are happy with the progress thus far in the MPAC and Land and Tribunal that with the minimal resources at place they are able to make notable progress.

Comrades I raise these challenges noting the importance of Restructuring that must happen in this regard and surely when doing we must consider the size and shape element. Fellow compatriots this brings me to a point that a review will be made and an announcement will be made before the closure of lekgotla business the changes made in terms of the caucus subcommittee leadership.

Functioning Study Groups

The study groups do sit in preparation for the section 80 meeting but now the challenge with that approach is that section 80 agenda dictates the agenda of the study group which in essence is wrong because it should be the study group that dictates the agenda of the section 80.

Comrades what this mean is that in the absence of the section 80 you will not have the study groups sitting which very much wrong as that is where you will need to meet and do oversight as politicians, go back to section 80 and speak about your findings. This on its own constitutes one of the elements of the activist caucus as it dictates that we be hands on. The only time MMM’s will realise the value of the study group is when we go to the study group having studied the agenda against our own resolution ANC resolutions and the Manifesto to check if we are still in tact.

Compatriots I must indicate that study groups remain a strategic monitoring tool for us as caucus to gauge ourselves as to are we still in line with the party directives hence at no point in time they should be compromised. Nothing and I mean nothing should go to section 80 before it can be workshopped by caucus and at no point in time should the MMC flight a program or a report to MAYCO without knowledge of the study group as this will be undermining a very important structure of caucus.

A very important point to note is that we did not do well on our second quarter in terms of performance audit precisely owing to us convening below the target number of study groups. You will be aware that we were supposed to convene 42 study groups per quarter and we were only able to convene 22.Comrades this is very bad noting that we do not need any finance to convene a study group so in no particular point we will blame cash flow for non-sitting of study groups.
Relations between Chairpersons of Study Groups and MMC’s.

One of the contributing factors towards the study groups not sittings remains the unhealthy relations between the MMC and the study group chairperson. Allow me to say that given the duration we have been in office I do not expect that today we will be sitting with a challenge of MMC being in collision with the study group because in essence the study group should be the first line of defense for the MMC hence it is pivotal that they solicit relations.

The MMC remains a resource person in the study group given his/her wealth in terms of information on the said department noting that she/he remains a full time councillor, so if there are no good relations it means the study group which represents the ANC suffers. Comrades this cannot be the case anymore as we have been observing it for some time now.

Multi–Party Relations

The relations between parties in council remain healthy as we do meet once in a quarter in finding ways to bring about tranquility in council. We do meet outside our calendar as in and when the need arise to lobby each other on various issues of concern either of the party in council. This relations that are being forged they do benefit us as we have never experienced any gymnastics in council but so far we have had dignified debates and agreeing to disagree on matter of concern to us.

Shadow councillors

We will have to review our own deployment of shadow councillors as we had 9 wards in the municipality wherein we had deployed our councillors to serve as shadow councillors. As things stand now we only have two wards that are being serviced by our councillors whereas others have not set foot in his/her area of deployment, well in one ward the councillor has resigned as a councillor of ANC.

This on its own defeats us as the ANC as had lost these wards during the local government elections which coerced into deploying our cadres to then service those areas. We cannot take things to chance hence the need to review that deployment.

Discipline

Given various incidents in caucus of misconduct by councillors ranging from:

  • Late arrival at caucus, study groups and in council.
  • Untidiness at council and section 80 meetings
  • Sour relations between the councillor and the branch of the ANC
  • Other issues detrimental to caucus

The whippery then established the disciplinary committee which will off-course be guided by the fine system as approved by caucus and if matters are beyond they shall recommend cause of action to myself and if need arise the office of the Regional Secretary will be called on board.

The committee is constituted by the following people:

  1. Cllr Morolong ‘Chair’
  2. Cllr Lehlake
  3. Cllr Malisa
  4. Cllr Mphuthing

Thus far there are a number of councillors who have been called to appear before the committee on accounts of non-attendance to caucus and I must they conduct has improved which is an indication that we are going somewhere.

1.4. PMT

Political Management Team comprises of the Speaker, Executive Mayor and the Chief Whip and after the resolution that was taken at the provincial Chief Whip’s Forum the chief Whip then became a convener. We have been meeting regularly without fail to deal with pertinent issues facing the municipality. The only challenge comes when the decision taken at this level are not implemented. This does not only pose a threat to this structure but to the normal functioning of the entire institution.

Our relations are purely political and thus far we have managed to deal with issues amicably as the Trio so that Caucus, MAYCO and Council do not collapse. Our robust engagement has indeed brought stability in council even though the challenge off late has been the non- attendance of caucus by the speaker which gives a challenge in managing council as our understanding is that caucus prepares an approach to council which is imperative that the chair of council attends to caucus.

Legislature

It is our view as the ANC that this structure of government is essential as that is where we draw policies, By-laws and address community issues which affect service delivery and the wellness of councillors. This unit is indeed trying its best amidst time constraints we face noting that in the week we only have three days to do work as Mondays are ANC days and Wednesdays are Sedibeng days hence there is still a backlog of policies that still needs a review:

  • Youth development policy
  • Gender policy
  • Disability policy etc.

Equally as councillors of the ANC we need to understand these policies as they go for review in essence I am saying from the study group we must as the ANC take a lead in their review so they can reflect the organizational aspirations, second is that we must attend to this policy workshops so that we are able to influence them accordingly.

We have seen the office of the Speaker doing something commendable that of taking council to the people so that our people can have a feel of what really happens and that on its own to the fundamental element of public participation which is a cornerstone of the Developmental Local Government.
The Executive and Administration

One thing so far is mutual respect between us, a cadre who is able to separate issues and understands that she is the Deputy Chair of the ANC at the regional level but here she accounts to caucus. At all material times she does consult with the PMT on issues that require political wisdom.

This lekgotla must commend the Executive Mayor and administration on the marvelous work done in as far as the unqualified audit report is concern. Surely we are aware that we have been at pains as this municipality to attain such since we been getting disclaimers and qualified reports which put this municipality at a state wherein it could no longer attract investment.

We must also commend the Executive Mayor for seeing the conclusion of the Job Descriptions which was a whippery outcry as we realised that we are having ghost workers who keep draining our minimal resources, this has also closed the chapter of the wage curve as matter that has put us at odds with labor.
The issue that we must put unto them is to begin checking the spin-offs of the establishment of the Revenue Unit, to say thus far is it able to yield the aspired outcomes so we can speed up service delivery to our constituencies. Secondly is to address the issue of the water loss within the municipality as this is a disservice to our people.

This lekgotla must begin to politically adopt the Operation Patala and own it so that it does not become the Executive Mayor’s program but it becomes the ANC program, meaning we need to attend to the zones of the ANC to further clarify the concept so that going to public meetings there is clarity by all structure of the movement.

1.5 Governance

Through the quarterly reports by councilors the office noted that there is challenge in the wards wherein the leadership of the ANC in the branch is in conflict with the ward councilor and in some instance the ward councilor is in conflict with the PR councilor. The whippery undertook upon itself to convene such councilors to address the matter so as to ensure that governance does not suffer due to misunderstanding of roles.

The Chief Whip did also undertake to visit such branches wherein there are challenges in an endeavor to ameliorate the situation which to this effect things has come to normality. The office also drafted the oversight visit report with its recommendation on service delivery issues and submitted to the office of the Executive Mayor for her attention. This has yielded results as we have projects which have been in abeyance for more than three years e.g. lerothodi street in ward 32 but as we speak the road is back in to usage again by caucus through the office.

Some of the key administrative decisions taken by caucus are as follows:

  • That councilors adhere to Monday as an ANC day that they do nothing else except to be part of ANC programs from P.C.O.to branch activities on Mondays
  • Proper treatment of Indalo Yethu employees
  • Permanent placement of intern fire fighters
  • Increasing the budget for Indigent Burial Policy
  • Adoption of the ANC Manifesto as ELM guiding document

The caucus convened its first annual lekgotla in November 2011 and key amongst the decisions taken the following are highlighted:

  • Filling of vacant posts and creation of decent jobs as per the Manifesto
  • Developing a pro-poor Local Economic Development strategy
  • Establishing SMME’s and Cooperative centers
  • Land audit to be expedited
  • Upgrading of water and sanitation infrastructure through the Regional Sewer Scheme
  • Installation of smart metering as to address billing system
  • Establishing a Revenue Agency
  • Fast track launching of street committees
  • Rural Development
  • Health and social development
  • Unanimous agreement on the move towards the METRO
  • Total rejection of the implementation of AARTO noting its administrative hindrances.

The report that emanates from the one Makgotla that were held by various clusters will give us an in-depth analysis on the state of progress on these key resolutions taken at Glenburn in 2011, but I remain content thus far about the work ensuing in our municipality this indeed shows that the executive’s hands are on deck.

P.C.O

The office has gone all round the P.C.O’s to establish P.C.O forums as part of addressing some of the governance issues from the locals. The visit was done on the 5 of April 2012 and it was a success with councilor Maseko and councilor Kubheka being nominated to serve in the P.C.O management in Sebokeng. In Evaton councilor Moiloa and councilor Raikane were seconded to serve in the P.C.O management.

We initially encountered challenges both in Vanderbijl and in Vereeniging P.C.O’s as there was no proper coordination from the side of the legislature noting that the MPL remains the convener. As things stand there is progress in that regard as there has been programs done by the latter P.C.O’s.
The functioning of the P.C.O. forums established is good ven though thre are still challenges of other councillors not attending to P.C.O’s and the question is what are they busy with if not in ANC program, albeit this P.C.O’s remain central in service delivery issues as we have seen Evaton and Sebokeng leading in this score. Our officials in the office constantly attends the P.C.O. forums to serve as resource for the better running of the forums.

Office Administration

The office is manned very well with the clear SDBIP program which is monitored by the manager.

The office does submit at the end of every quarter the report based on the set SDBIP, it also provides the portfolio of evidence which speaks to the report submitted.

It must be mentioned that we might not have performed well in the first quarter after the elections as councillors were still finding their footing but on the second quarter we did well with the 80% performance. We wish to indicate that it is not sufficient but strides are made to reach the set targets.

For the first time in history of this municipality the political offices did well in terms of the Internal Audit determinations, Comrades and compatriots this needs to be commended as it shows that our officials are beginning to understand a direction to the ANC wants to take the municipality towards. They have become agents of change to which we can rely on towards socio-economic development.

The departmental meetings are scheduled once a month with the Chief Whip attending once per quarter or on an Adhoc-basis. The staff is high moralized owing to the program wherein they amongst themselves nominate the employee of the quarter, this employee should have done well based on the SDBIP and receives an award for that as part of performance appraisal.

Comrades and fellow compatriots I hope this political report will serve you well for the coming three days so that as we depart here we depart with a clear roadmap that will take towards the METRO as we remain convinced that is a just course that will benefit our people in many ways.

I wish Lekgotla well as we will also be pondering on the Separation of powers, City region, Regional Authority and Project Consolidate 2. These initiatives will off-course help us to understand the direction we are taking as the ANC, comrades you will remember that we are a branch of the ANC in government as a results its directives must be carried with high diligence and pride by all of us.

Comrades and fellow compatriots good afternoon.

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Emfuleni Head Office

Mayor's Corner