Opening remarks by the Executive Mayor of the Emfuleni Local Municipality Cllr Mahole Simon Mofokeng during the Special Council Sitting, Council Chamber, 08 February 2017

Councillor Mahole Simon MofokengGREETINGS AND OPENING REMARKS

Madam Speaker of Council and fellow PMT member, Councillor Maipato Tsokolibane,
Madam Chief Whip of Council and fellow PMT member, Councillor Christina Sale,
Members of the Mayoral Committee of the Emfuleni Local Municipality,
Fellow Councillors,
Members of the media and the people of Emfuleni.

Councillors, a very good morning to you all. This gathering takes place just three days before the 11th of January, a date which changed the South African epoch 25 years ago when our former first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1991.

A lot of us in this room will remember that day like it was yesterday. I still remember seeing the iconic Madiba with his right fist clenched in the air alongside Cde. Winnie Mandela on that emotional day. As a member of the ANC Youth League then, Councillor Thembile Nquba would attest when I say that we were young, energetic, radical but disciplined visionary leaders of our time.

Little did we know that today we would be future government leaders of a democratic dispensation. This Council is comprised of young and old generations of leaders but it is the former whose behavior in recent times has left me wondering about the role of young politicians in our country who would be the role models for aspiring future political leaders.

Fellow Councillors, this special Council meeting takes place shortly after our ordinary Council which sat about a week ago. It shows that being a servant of the people requires commitment around the clock as you may be called to duty at any given time.

We thank you for coming at such short notice, proving once more that you remain committed to your civic duties. I would like to once again apologize for my absence in the last Council due to ill-health. I would have loved to be here but ailments have a way of coming when least expected, which is a situation beyond the human control. However, I thank all of you for speedy recovery messages – from nearby and afar. My gratitude also goes to all our councillors for their support – including those in the opposition benches.

Madam Speaker and fellow Councillors, this year is known as the year of O.R Tambo – a visionary leader, teacher, theologian, scholar, intellectual and unifier. My emphasis would be based on unity as I have always reiterated in this Council. O.R led our people during the difficult period under apartheid rule whilst our leaders were in exile and imprisonment. We should emulate great leaders such as O.R in order to unite and represent our people.

Let us find each other and agree to disagree when we are faced with varying views on matters before this Council. We must all find synergy in our political ideologies in order to deepen the unity of purpose.

Let us also as we continue to gather in such meetings call for robust discussions in our processes of formulating policies which go through and are adopted by this Council. This is one of the ways of putting unity in action. The call for robust discussions should not be misconstrued for disruptions of Council proceedings and processes. I uphold the role of the opposition as duty bound to hold the ruling accountable. This while the ruling party is duty bound to run government in a manner that is transparent. This social contract between the parties represented in this Council remains a cornerstone of our democracy. This relationship exists because of the overwhelming will of the people who voted for us in the 2016 Local Government Elections.

Madam Speaker, the announcement was made regarding the Mayoral Strategic Lekgotla which was supposed to commence today but has since been postponed to a date yet to be announced. However, in the place of the Lekgotla, there is still an Extended Mayoral Committee Meeting which takes place later today. The Extended Mayco Meeting is a precursor to the Mayoral Strategic Lekgotla which seeks to outline our plans for the next five years, internalize the four-pillar strategy to turn around our municipality and its finances, including for the third-generation Growth and Development Strategy (GDS). The announcement for the date of Lekgotla will be communicated soon.

I sincerely extend apologies on behalf of my Office for any inconvenience caused by this postponement. I am also aware that our Municipal Public Accounts Committee is due to go for its workshop and of which on behalf of our local cabinet and Council wish them all the best of deliberations.

Colleagues, I have been informed of yet another incident of gang violence in communities, this time affecting the areas of Polokong and Zone 20 in Sebokeng. We have spoken about this matter late last year when lives were lost in senseless violence. I remain hopeful that whilst the Task Team was established during the summer initiation season in December, it should remain active and vigilant to solve what now appears to be a culture of gang-related violence.

Councillors and the people of Emfuleni, I have said it before and I shall say it once more, there is no doubt in my mind that undergoing initiation is a rite of passage for many South African young men and women from families who love their culture and traditions learned from their forebears.

Ladies and gentlemen, it came to our attention that the head of our sister municipality, Sedibeng District Municipality Executive Mayor Cde. Busi Modisakeng was admitted to hospital last week. We wish Notshikgholo Godspeed on her way to making a full recovery and come back to execute her duties. It makes me worry at the rate at which Executive Mayors are falling ill in recent weeks. My sick leave nearly coincided with that of Cde. Modisakeng.

Colleagues, before we table the report on the amendment of the upper limits, let me take this moment to express my heartfelt condolences to the family of Joost Van der Westhuizen who passed on Monday after a long illness. He made his debut as a rugby player in 1993 at the age of 24 and he played rugby representing South Africa for 10 years, notching up a record 38 tries from 89 caps before retiring.

I would also like send my deepest condolences to Councillor Kedibone Mahlase and her entire family following the passing of their dearest mother, including many other families out there I may have not called out by name. May the souls of the departed Rest in Eternal Peace.

I hereby call upon members of the Mayoral Committee and of MPAC to retrieve to their different venues for their workshops.

I thank you

Emfuleni Head Office

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