MADAME SPEAKER OF COUNCIL, CLLR. MAIPATO TSOKOLIBANE, MADAME CHIEF WHIP OF COUNCIL, CLLR. CHRISTINA SALE, THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF EKURHULENI, CLLR. MZWANDILE MASINA; THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR OF THE SEDIBENG DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY, CLLR. BUSISIWE MODISAKENG; THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR OF THE LESEDI LOCAL MUNICIPALITY, CLLR. LERATO MALOKA; THE LEADERSHIP OF THE ANC FROM THE PROVINCIAL, REGIONAL, BRANCHES, INCLUDING LEADERS FROM THE LEAGUES; LEADERS OF THE OPPOSITION PARTIES; FELLOW COUNCILLORS OF THE EMFULENI LOCAL MUNICIPALITY; THE ELM SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM; ELM STAFF UNDER THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE 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 you on this important occasion. This occasion marks the passing of the baton from one leader to the other. I would like our people to know upfront that their aspirations are still safe in the plans of the African National Congress (ANC) and its Alliance components.
Thirty-one (31) years ago, on 28 November 1986, a product of the longest-serving president of the ANC the late Comrade OR Tambo, Barney Lekgotla Richard Molokwane, was hanged by the National Party regime. As a student of Tambo, Molokwane was just as 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 good health.
He was particularly fond and dedicated to his work to serve our people, which he believed 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 the 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 from 1961, following the Sharpeville Massacre (of 21 March 1960), Comrade OR steered 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 in his footprints and emulate his work. Emfuleni must stay afloat and reach its destination.
For this to happen, I am relying on the co-operation 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 said:
“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 five days following the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for 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 men 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. In 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 Five Key Priority Areas which will see all of us moving from the boardrooms to our communities through a strengthened public participation programme. The programme will ensure clean governance and a clean city. It must also bring changes to the economy and boost our revenue collection.
These programmes 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.(This cadreship must be of) those who adhere to Batho Pele Principles, those who do their jobs and those who will be proud of the outcomes. We 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 financially 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 for it to deliver on its mandate and objectives. The ELM also requires all of its total workforce to be committed in assisting us to achieve our 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; and
- Most importantly, we must create a performance-based 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.
Madame 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 are the representatives and as we do our work we need an affirmation that, indeed, the people are represented. All councilors – especially ward councillors –must 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 personally, together with the Municipal Manager, ensure that we avail ourselves and attend as called upon by the Petitions Committee (of the Provincial Legislature). We invite our people to make use of the Petitions System.
Fellow citizens of Emfuleni, let me take you down memory lane, when 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,” he said. This petition remains true today and needs to be answered. So, I believe heavily in the Petition System.
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 Community Development Workers (CDWs) will be engaged to form part of the solid governmental team that seeks to improve contact and engagement with the people.
We will work together with Provincial Ntirhisano and our Getting the Basic Right: Program for Restoration to listen and to build a 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. (That is ) so sad. Look at us as we are nicely dressed; many of us drive nice cars, (and have) nice hairstyles - beautiful people in dirty townships 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 on Thursdays and I extend an invitation to all of you to join me.
I invite volunteers, the private sector, local businesses and community leaders to join us in this programme. I equally warn those who are deliberately making our city dirty with their reckless behaviour of littering, urinating anywhere and who do not care about the cleanliness of our township and towns (that their time is up).
We will, as a leading force, develop a combination of integrated city cleaning programme on an output-based cleaning programme 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; and the 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.
Talking about 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 are 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 are not depended to the state.
Ladies and gentlemen; radical economic development and transformation must be about building local economy in practical terms – that is, 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 is for a sustainable future for the Vaal Region relaying on adequate training, education, sanitation, nutrition and employment through empowerment programs. In conjunction with private sector companies through the formation of PPPs, 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 co-operative 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 co-operative 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 ones’ environment.
- Cleaning Co-operatives – A proven model utilised in various public areas and theatres throughout the Johannesburg CBD, cleaning-based co-operatives 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 co-operatives and sell building sand and stone, as well as bricks into the community.
- Logistics Co-operatives – 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 programmes 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 daydreaming 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, but 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 to please pay. We will embark on a difficult plan to collect (revenue from those who are not paying) but for now let it be voluntary.
To business, we say: please pay (for the services used). If there are areas of dissatisfaction, 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.
One form of revenue for the ELM is through ticket fines. We welcome the newly-appointed traffic law transgressions back office service provider, who, together with our law enforcement officers, will intensify the campaign of collecting fines owed to the Council. Roadblocks will be set at 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 us all agree that our Municipality is financially-challenged, our financial commitments far outstrip our current revenue. Our 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; and
- 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, Madame 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;
- 3. Managing Expenditure and keeping a tight hold on our austerity measures; and
- Extracting maximum benefit from the Indigency Policy to offset the impact of widespread poverty in the region.
Madame 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 the MMC responsible for Finance and Revenue;
- Cllr Busisiwe Mncube will be the MMC for Corporate and Governance;
- Cllr Kethiwe Ntombela, the MMC responsible for Infrastructure;
- Cllr Nomvula Thulo will be the MMC responsible for Environmental Management and Planning;
- Cllr Dimakatso Maria Malisa is the MMC for Health and Social Development;
- Cllr Thembile Samson Nquba is the MMC responsible for Basic Services;
- Cllr Penny Sengoatsi is the MMC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Library Information Services, Parks and Cemeteries;
- Cllr Pius Maseko is the MMC for Local Economic Development, Planning and Tourism;
- Cllr Jan Motshana Moshualuba is the MMC for Public Safety, and
- Cllr Mokete Edwin Kele is the MMC for Human Settlement.
Speaker, today is better that 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!