Madam Speaker of Council, Cllr. Maipato Tsokolibane, Madam Chief Whip of Council, Cllr. Christina Sale, The Executive Mayor of City of Ekurhuleni, Cllr. Mzwandile Masina, The Executive Mayor of Sedibeng District Municipality, Cllr. Busisiwe Modisakeng, The Executive Mayor of Lesedi Local Municipality, Cllr. Lerato Maloka, The leadership of the ANC from Provincial, Regional, Branches, including leaders from the leagues; Leaders of the Opposition Parties, Fellow Councillors of Emfuleni Local Municipality; Senior Management Team and our staff under the stewardship of Municipal Manager, Mr. Oupa Nkoane, Members of the Mayoral Investment Council; Members of the Mayoral Bursary Committee; Leaders of the religious fraternity; Distinguished guests; Ladies and gentlemen; People of Emfuleni; The media fraternity.
I greet you all this afternoon.
Councillors and the people of Emfuleni, please allow me to express my sincerest heartfelt gratitude to this important occasion. This occasion marks the passing on of the baton from one leader to the other. I want our people to know upfront that their aspirations are still safe in the plans of the ANC and its Alliance components.
31 Years ago on the 28 November 1986, a product of the longest serving president of the ANC the late Comrade OR Tambo, Barney Lekgotla Richard Molokwane was ambushed by the Nationalist Party Regime. As a student of Tambo, Molokwane was just faithful to the ideals of the ANC. Although he was gifted in many fields, he was always eager to learn through listening and debating. He was a disciplined soldier, always concerned with maintaining of good health.
He was particularly fond and dedicated to his work to serve our people, which prepared him for any contingency. As a commander, he was exceptional, taking particular care with the safety and well-being of those under his command.
Talking about Tambo, the revolutionary leader, as we come to an end of the year which is dedicated to him, we are reminded of his teachings when he said, “The future is bright. The end is glorious; it is peaceful”. Indeed here at Emfuleni today, we must say the future is bright and the end will definitely be glorious.
We know from our history that since 1961, following the Sharpeville massacre, comrade OR stirred the ship of liberation.
He would not let the ship sink rather he understood that through hope and determination the ship must stay afloat to reach its destination. For this I am committing to follow on his footprints and emulate his work. Emfuleni must stay afloat and reach its destination.
For this to happen, I am relying on the corporation of all of us. It is also my belief that for Tambo to succeed, he relied on working with a formidable congress movement team comprising of a solid alliance.
On the same note I want us to remember the teachings of Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso when he alluded that “Our revolution is not a public-speaking tournament. Our revolution is not a battle of fine phrases. Our revolution is not simply for shouting slogans that are no more than signals used by manipulators trying to use them as catchwords, as code-words, as a foil for their own display. Our revolution is, and should continue to be, the collective effort of revolutionaries to transform reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of our country.”
My inauguration as the new Executive Mayor of Emfuleni comes 5 days following the launch of the 16 days of activism of No Violence against women and children. This noble program is guided by the theme, “Count Me In: Together Moving A Non-Violent South Africa Forward.”
The emancipation of the women, as we all know, has always been on Tambo’s priority list of struggles.
Let all good man say this after me, I am a good father, a loving husband, a sweet darling, a caring man. I don’t rape, I don’t abuse, but if I did all these yesterday. No more and no more so help me my conscience!!
Comrades and colleagues, as a resident and activist who grew up in Emfuleni, I am not oblivious to the many challenges facing our municipality and its people.
I am equally not ignorant to the fact that the road ahead is going to be an uphill one. On the same breath, I invite the people of Emfuleni to a journey full of hope. This hope must be drawn from our commitment, skills, determination and energy.
Our determination is not misguided but informed by the renewal of leadership and of integrated collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.
Madam Speaker, I want to caution you about many concepts in government. Every administration when it is ushered in, introduces its own concepts and strategies. I am not a fanatic of concepts, but I want to see this administration building from the good that has been in existence, eradicating the bad and move forward with no fear or favour.
In the next 120 days we will focus on a programme with 5 key priority areas which will see all of us moving from the board-rooms to our communities through strengthened public participation program. The program will ensure clean governance and clean city. It must also bring changes to economy and boost our revenue collection.
These programs which are as follows:
We must have an administrative cadreship of men and women who are prepared and ready to serve the course of the revolution.
Those who adhere to Batho Pele Principles and those who do their jobs including those who will be proud of the outcomes must expect an administrative cadreship that hates corruption and nepotism, staff members that get angry for failing to serve our people - the ones who fear not to tell truth to power.
Equally, we are now aiming to resolve all labour cases within the next 3 to 6 months to stabilise the Institution. We can no longer afford to spend time in courts on labour matters and I urge the unions and management to ensure that our Local Labour Forum is effective and favourable to all.
We aim to fill all critical vacancies in the next 3 months with the right individuals with the necessary requisite and qualifications both in technical and financial skills.
Our human capital is the best asset we have today. I will be meeting with all departments to see every staff member and the link with the organogram and the salary slip. Days of ghost employees are over; equally, days of not taking care of workers are over. QGINA msebenzi qgina!!
All acting positions must be filled to avoid uncertainty and confusion.
Fellow Councillors, every organisation is heavily reliant on its workforce in order to deliver on its mandate and objectives. The ELM also requires its total workforce to be committed in assisting to achieve next stage of development. To achieve this we must make all efforts to address the following:
- Expedite the process of filling all Section 56 positions
- Prioritise the filling of critical service delivery related posts within the budgetary and cash flow constraints
- Deepen and sustain relations with organized labour- this will be guided by the principles of cordiality and mutual respect
- Expedite the process of resolving all labour disputes at different levels of bargaining and arbitration processes
- Expedite the process of job evaluation and grading
- Expedite the structural review and fill gaps where they exist
- Most importantly, we must create a performance base culture which leads to improved service delivery to our people. We must at all times promote discipline and good work ethic amongst us and our workers.
Madam Speaker, let me re-orientate all of you about the basic constitutional prescript of our democracy. We have a dual system of representative and participatory democratic system. We, the public representatives, as we do our work, we need an affirmation that indeed the people are represented. No councillor at worse, no ward councillor that must not account to the people. All of us irrespective of our political organisations must be held accountable.
Working with the Speaker, we will improve and support the Petitions Committee.
I will together with the Municipal Manager avail ourselves and attend as called upon by the Petitions committee. We invite our people to make use of the petitions system.
Fellow citizens of Emfuleni, let me take you down the memory lane, when in 100 years ago Ntate Sefako Makgatho, the then second President of the ANC wrote a petition to England. “We ask for no special favours from the government. This is the land of our fathers”. This petition remains true today and needs to be answered. So I believe heavily in the petition system.
In every fortnight for the next 120 days, I will be conducting visits to our wards. I will be working directly with our ward councillors, stakeholders and the general public. I will be conducting formal and informal meetings and other community programmes to ensure that we give our people the opportunity for participatory democracy. We adopt the slogan “nothing about us without us”. The normal public participation processes will continue as planned and the CDWs will be engaged to form part of the solid governmental team that seeks to improve contact with the people.
We will work together with Provincial Ntirisano and our Getting the Basic Right: Program for Restoration to listen and to build social contract for the betterment of our people and city.
Batho Ba Emfuleni, we will be embarking on a clean city campaign. Our city is dirty. So sad. Look at us as we are nicely dressed, many of us drive nice cars, nice hair styles, beautiful people in a dirty township and towns. Let us today make a declaration that what the Singaporeans nation did - we can also do - to be a clean city.
Vereeniging must be clean, Vanderbiljpark must be clean, Three Rivers must be clean, Evaton must be clean, Sebokeng, Sharpeville, Bophelong and everywhere in Emfuleni - we must get our city clean. This is a collective responsibility. We as the municipality must take the lead - but all must be involved. I will be embarking on the cleaning roll-out programme every fortnight Thursday and I extend an invitation to all of you to join me.
I invite volunteers, private sector, local businesses and community leaders to join in this programme. I equally warn those who are deliberately making our City dirty with their reckless behaviour of littering, urinating anywhere and who don’t care about the cleanliness of our township and towns.
We will as a leading force develop a combination of integrated city cleaning program on an out-put based cleaning program using both our tools and employees to clean up illegal dumps, beautifying our entrances and partnering with businesses to adopt town entrances for beautification. The waste and parks departments will work together in joint teams to clean our towns and townships. They will be supported by the by-laws unit.
Comrades and colleagues, some initiatives will include the conversion of illegal dumps into sporting and recreational facilities, adoption of streets in partnership with business for cleaning and greening. We will be concluding the draft by-law on dilapidated buildings. The by-law will be assisting building control to deal with old structures that cannot be rehabilitated further.
On economic development, ladies and gentlemen we must remove or reduce this guy called red tape, too much hierarchy at most times is the enemy of development.
We invite all innovations, suggestions and proposals in particular those who seek no money from the municipality but looking for partnerships to come forward. I have agreed with the Municipal Manager that such people need not to go from pillar to post but have direct access to him or myself. We need more entrepreneurs, more black industrialists and more self-sufficient individuals who enjoy support of government but not depended on the state.
Ladies and gentlemen, radical economic development and transformation here must be about building local economy in practical terms, skilling, financing, collaboration and sound competition must be the name of the game. We will work very close with the private sector, provincial and national government on all economic development programmes.
One hashtag #Sisonkekulendabayomnotho.
It is a well-known fact by now that we are in need of a second economy, an economy that is inclusive and accessible to the community. What we do today will ensure a secured and sustainable future for all in the Vaal region.
Comrades, our vision encompasses a sustainable future for the Vaal Region to rely on adequate training, education, sanitation, nutrition and employment through empowerment programs. In conjunction with private sector companies through the formation of PPP’s, we believe the following potential programs can be created and maintained to ensure employment for all, resulting in youth and women empowerment and communal prosperity.
The initiatives to stimulate the local economy and create workforce jobs outside the normal expectation of government employment are not exclusive:
- Sandbagging initiatives – bagging building, plaster and silica sand to be redistributed through sales into the local area.
- Sustainable Vegetable Farming and bagging – vegetables can be grown, packed into bags and redistributed to local shops.
- Tunnel Farming - Tunnel Farming initiatives, aiming to grow vegetables and pack them down and then supply them to local shops and feeding schemes.
- Food Pack Down Plants – great cooperative opportunity to pack down dry fortified, maize, rice and sugar from bulk into smaller quantities for distribution through feeding schemes.
- Creation and packing of Dignity Packs - All women have the right to a dignified life and the key to this is provision of the correct hygiene products. The distribution of dignity packs has long been a public focus for South Africa, forming a cooperative that will pack down and distribute dignity packs is a great opportunity for job creation.
- Graffiti Removal initiatives – A proven model utilised in areas such as Eldorado Park , these initiatives are aimed at youth development and empowerment, while also enhancing service delivery and cleanliness of the area, resulting in communal and public pride of one’s environment.
- Cleaning Cooperatives – A proven model utilised in various public areas and theatres throughout the Johannesburg CBD, cleaning based cooperatives are formulated to ensure efficient sanitation and cleanliness at government buildings.
- Chemical blending and Chemical supply – This Initiative goes hand in hand with the cleaning Initiative, and creates a supply of non-solvent based, environmentally friendly chemicals to address the demand for cleaning chemicals created by formulating cleaning cooperatives.
- To Facilitate community cleanliness and in conjunction with SAMWU, stipends can be paid to local folk within the community to maintain the communal area. This brings money into the community and stimulates local economic growth, including the Spaza market.
- Brick making and Sand Yards – the creation of small sand yards that will be supplied via the sand bagging cooperatives and sell building sand and stone, as well as bricks into the community.
- Logistics Cooperatives – empowerment of locals who own vehicles that can set up small logistics orientated companies to ensure delivery of products manufactured by various other initiatives.
- Security Co-operatives – The setup of security firms aimed at providing guarding and monitoring with focus on MK and military veterans for employment.
- Water Sanitation and Control - Through the use of water management and sanitisation systems and natural based products, the aim is to control waste in the Vaal region and ensure cleaner water while prioritising issues such as addressing sewerage leaks into the river.
- Disaster Relief – Adequate and effective disaster relief initiatives need to be set in place to ensure immediate response and relief to those affected by disasters such as informal settlement fires, extreme cold and storms.
- Sustainable feeding programs for the youth and Elderly – This is vital to ensure adequate cognitive and physical development in the youth, while also ensuring well maintained health for elders.
- The Establishment of adequate training programs that teach business, account management and entrepreneurial skills.
- We will empower our women through the creation of 100 percent women owned co-operatives. These can be linked to earlier mentioned initiatives vegetable pack downs, food pack downs, sand bagging co-operatives, the packing and creation of dignity packs and community meal programs.
Comrades and friends, by working together, we will achieve our goal of improving the economy by stimulating local economic development and creating opportunities for financial and revenue development within the community. This can be achieved by focusing on the fundamental building blocks of a community, these being health, education, nutrition and efficient service delivery. These initiatives are not day dreaming activities but possible programmes that need a collective approach rather than competitive approach. #sisonkekulentoyomnotho.
Fellow people of Emfuleni, revenue collection remains a big challenge. Some of you are involved in a debate about what comes first. Services or payment, chicken or egg. I invite all of us to travel together from the culture of non-payment to payment. As we do with cell phone airtime, dstv or petrol. We pay for affordability and use. Let us start small to pay. Just pay at the end of the month. Have pride that you have paid. Equally important, not after or before at the same time, we as Council must improve our record of service delivery.
I urge the indigents to use what they get as free basic services, not more, however if you use more please pay.
We must start a talk about scientific ways of measuring what we use. I am calling the professionals and business to pay. We will embark on a difficult plan to collect but for now let it be voluntary.
If there are areas of dissatisfactory let us engage for one purpose to create an environment for you to pay. Equally, government to government relations must be about enabling space to delivery.
The form of revenue is on ticket fines. We welcome the newly appointed traffic law transgressions back office service provider together with our law enforcement officers will intensify the campaign of collecting fines owed to Council. Roadblocks will be set in various strategic points in Emfuleni. This will also promote awareness and safety in our roads.
Still on the issue of the state of our finances, Honourable Speaker, let’s all agree that our municipality is challenged financially. Our financial commitments far outstrip our current revenue, dedicated focus on our finances will include:
- Revenue collection management, enhancement and protection;
- Efficient and transparent supply chain aimed at realising value for money for anything we procure. We will strive for open tender system
- Implement tighter expenditure controls.
- Complying without fail to all issues raised by the Auditor-General.
Our initiative requires partnerships and collaboration with our partners, community and all stakeholders. We will soon be launching a campaign aimed at partnering with communities to ensure payment of municipal services.
I want to reiterate that furthermore Madam Speaker, as I commit to continue walking on the path of my predecessors, I call on all of us to breathe fresh air into the Four Pillar Turnaround Strategy which is founded on the following:
- Improving the Revenue Collection of the Municipality by enhancing every single income stream.
- Reducing Losses through unmetered consumption.
- Managing Expenditure and keeping a tight hold on our austerity measures.
- While the impact of poverty in our area cannot be fully compensated for, if we optimize our Indigent Register, we can extract maximum benefit of the policy.
Madam Speaker and Fellow citizens of Emfuleni, all what I just said will not be achieved by me working alone. There is a team of capable men and women I entrust the responsibility to drive this agenda.
It is my pleasure to announce that:
- Cllr Robert Thema will be MMC responsible for Finance and Revenue.
- Cllr Busisiwe Mncube will be MMC for Corporate and Governance.
- Cllr Kethiwe Ntombela, MMC responsible for Infrastructure.
- Cllr Nomvula Thulo will be MMC responsible for Environmental Management and Planning.
- Cllr Dimakatso Maria Malisa is MMC for Health and Social Development.
- Cllr Thembile Samson Nquba is MMC responsible for Basic Services.
- Cllr Penny Sengoatsi is MMC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Library Information Services, Parks and Cemeteries.
- Cllr Pius Maseko is MMC for Local Economic Development, Planning and Tourism.
- Cllr Jan Motshana Moshualuba is MMC for Public safety, and
- Cllr Mokete Edwin Kele is MMC for Human Settlement.
Speaker, today is better than yesterday and I have no doubt that tomorrow will be even better than today. The ANC is just an agent of change and the people are their own liberators. We urge them to rise up and defend the revolution, hold us accountable and strive for a better future.
As OR Tambo said “The future is bright. The end is glorious; it is peaceful”.
I THANK YOU!