Opening remarks by the Executive Mayor of the Emfuleni Local Municipality Cllr Mahole Simon Mofokeng during the 297th Council Sitting, Council Chamber, 21 February 2017

Councillor Mahole Simon MofokengMembers of the Mayoral Committee, and colleagues from the Senior Management Team, A good morning to you all

Colleagues, the ANC has spoken. The burden of delivery, the mammoth task of ensuring that we deliver on what the ANC as the leader of our society has asked of us lies on the shoulders of everyone in this room. We have never been any clearer about what needs to be done to carry out the policy directives of the ANC, having emerged from successful Extended MAYCO workshop and ANC REC Lekgotla, stronger, wiser and united like never before. And, on that score I wish to thank all those amongst us who attended.

Ours is now to reconcile the resolutions of the ANC REC Lekgotla with the plans of our municipality aimed at improving service delivery and ensuring good governance.

Our ANC Lekgotla took an extensive look at challenges facing our Region including its led-municipalities and deliberated upon several key matters encompassed in Governance and Service Delivery, Radical Social and Economic Transformation and Health and Education. It was also characterized by robust and frank discussions, constructive criticism, recommendations and finally, resolutions which we must now implement. As the popular saying goes, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started,” we must hit the ground running for it is only when we are decisive and committed that we can succeed.

Colleagues, at the ANC REC Lekgotla, I shared an interesting story about how power works. When in power, we can determine just how narrow or wide the space between our movement and the municipalities which we govern should be. When in power, we have the authority to determine the strength or weakness of the synergy and synchronization between plans of our municipality and the policy directives of the ANC. When our municipality works, the ANC works – when our municipality delivers, the ANC delivers.

Comrades and colleagues, we must now use the power and authority our people bestowed on us to defend the gains of our hard-earned freedom and democracy. Most importantly, the Lekgotla was also a stern reminder to all of us deployed in local government of our primary role – to ensure the sustainable implementation of ANC policies which are all aimed at improving the lives of our people. That Lekgotla has emphasized the importance of this sphere of government.

All delegates at the ANC REC Lekgotla conceded that our municipalities are facing increased financial pressure with the situation in Emfuleni worsened by an unworkable and unfavorable MBD contract, increasing cost of labor and millions lost in litigation and the need for all ANC Councillors and residents to pay their municipal accounts. We have all come to the realization that improved revenue turn-over and least dependence on grants is the way forward to help our municipality function better in delivering on the Big Five services to our communities.

The last two months have been eventful and have gone a long way in shaping the future of this country and that of our home, the African National Congress. With the January 8 Statement, State of the Nation Address, Extended Mayco Workshop, ANC Lekgotla and just yesterday, State of the Province Address now behind us – at this SoPA, the first in the 5th democratic local government, Premier Makhura referred to a need to revitalize our economy and accelerate social cohesion. I have welcomed the Premier’s commitment to ensure that our District is integrated into the metropolitan economy of the Gauteng City Region.

My Office and that of the MM will start work to prepare for our Mayoral Lekgotla and State of the Municipal Address (SoMA) which is scheduled for the 25th May 2017 which will be on Saturday.

We opened this year which is dedicated to OR Tambo and themed “The year of O.R Tambo: deepening unity in action” on a high note with the January 8 Statement which set the agenda of the ANC for the year, and from that important mandate, our Gauteng ANC PEC Lekgotla also convened and further refined the roles, responsibilities and mandate given to ANC Regions in the Province.

The master plan, the State of the Nation Address was delivered by the President just over two weeks ago with the subsequent debates capturing the attention of the nation. Fellow Comrades, the ANC NEC, the highest organ of our movement yesterday held a special meeting to discuss the collusion of South African banks, as discovered by the Competition Tribunal – a shocking financial scandal which made many South Africans wonder just how long has such uncompetitive behavior existed in the banking sector.

As the Finance Minister, Cde. Pravin Gordhan prepares to deliver the much-anticipated budget speech this week; we must ask ourselves whether the budget will be pro-poor to help accelerate plans of the ANC government to accelerate radical economic transformation in order to improve the lives of our people.

Colleagues, as said earlier, we can now have the Mayoral Strategic Lekgotla to ensure that we complete the cycle – from the Extended Mayoral Committee Meeting held recently in Three Rivers in Vereeniging to the ANC REC Lekgotla held in Benoni over the weekend and finally. As we work towards concluding the full circle and all of us being on the same page of our developmental agenda, it is my wish that we also begin to familiarize ourselves with the Emfuleni report which was developed with your DMMs and all relevant documents emanating from that Lekgotla. I have been made aware of gaps on some of our report which might have caused by short notice and I sympathized with the authors.

Ladies and gentlemen, communication is at the heart of service delivery – if our people cannot access our municipality to report defects, this sharply increases the occurrence of protests and furthermore, gives our detractors the space, audience and publicity to attack us. It is for this reason that the ANC REC Lekgotla has urged all our municipalities to investigate ways of improving communication with communities, whether via social media applications or SMS service. I know my Office is currently reviewing a social media policy draft and other recommendations from our Communications Department aimed at remedying this very situation.

Colleagues, let us all play our respective roles to make sure that we become a successful collective, a team of winners who worked tirelessly to turn this municipality around. Let us find ourselves and our respective portfolios in the resolutions taken at the Lekgotla and start in earnest to work towards the implementation of these resolutions.

In short period to come, I will be leading on an outreach program targeting wards 31, 24, 26, 27, 28 and 36. The program will start on the 25th February 2017 and end on the 05TH March 2017.

I am also inviting you to join the post-SoPA Ntirisano program later today which will be led by the Provincial Government. The proceedings will kick start through briefing session at 13h30 at the Mafatsane Hall.

As I conclude, colleagues, I want you to note that there will be one-on-one sessions on the 16th and 17th March as announced by my Office and which we will be distributing reporting template in due course.

I and MEC Mashatile, were touched by an article which appeared in the Citizen newspaper of yesterday of a 100 year old granny, mme Selina Mahlasela from Sharpeville who have been on the waiting list for an RDP house for 20 years. I then instructed my Office to look into the matter urgently, and they will be working with the Office of MMC Moshoaluba and DMM Sekoto to ensure that all our people enjoy access to the benefits of our democracy.

I thank you

Emfuleni Head Office

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