Tuesday, 06 November 2018

Bloemfontein: The summit on the state of municipalities in the Free State has kicked off at Pacofs in Bloemfontein today, 06 November 2018.

The two day summit will aim to address the financial woes of all municipalities in the Free State Province and is attended by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs(Cogta); Zweli Mkhize.

The Free State MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta); Oupa Khoabane, Mangaung Metro Mayor; Olly Mlamleli and Free State ANC Chairperson; Sam Mashinini, President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA); Parks Tau, were amongst those in attendance.

In kicking off the summit, Mangaung Metro Mayor; Olly Mlamleli, spoke about challenges faced by the metro and the needed recovery plan.

“The metro is highly indebted to Bloem Water and battles to meet some of its obligations. However, I want to assure the public that we are now working closely with the Cogta department to ensure that they accelerate efforts to provide adequate services.” explained the Mayor.

In her address, the Premier of Free State; Sisi Ntombela, said that she sincerely hope that this historic Local Government Lekgotla will, as part of the discussions, unpack how our Municipalities can address these nagging challenges.

“However, all is not doom and gloom. We have, since the advent of democracy, come a long way in changing the face of our communities across the province through accelerated service delivery. Ours has been a concerted effort at ensuring that we improve the quality of life of our people,”

“It has become evident, though, that more should still be done. Going forward, I firmly believe that we need to firmly grasp the idea that the creation of an enabling environment for nurturing humanity, is at the core of the work our Municipalities must do.” said the Premier.

Before calling the Minister of Cogta; Zweli Mkhize, the Premier concluded by saying that Municipalities need to ensure that they do the following:

  • Build local economies to create more employment and sustainable livelihoods;
  • Improve local government public services and access to them;
  • Build more united, non-racial and integrated communities;
  • Promote more active community participation in local government; and
  • Ensure more effective, accountable and clean local government that works together with national and provincial government.

In his keynote address, Cogta Minister Zweli Mkhize, said that Lekgotla provides an opportunity to reflect on the issues that affect the local government sector especially the municipalities, most of which have been identified before and have had a number of resolutions taken to address them.

” We do so conscious of the urgency of the task of correcting these ills in the municipalities so that we can relieve our people of the brunt of poor service delivery in dysfunctional municipalities,”

“There are many local government officials and councillors in this province and nationally, who are fully committed and dedicated to their work. They spend countless hours in the service of the people,”

“I am in close contact with the MEC, Cde Khoabane, we are working well together in seeking solutions. We have also identified political issues that impact on governance and service delivery that need to be attended to. Such political issues cut across municipalities, nationally,”

“Squabbles within local leaders of the governing parties in the municipalities tend to spill over into the municipalities. The interference of political leaders in governance also makes it difficult for municipal officials to carry out their tasks. Failure to resolve conflicts within the municipalities disqualifies municipal leadership from resolving tensions in the communities,”

“Our people continue to cry out for services. We realised that some municipalities were not refurbishing or building new infrastructure and were unable to spend their Municipal Infrastructure Grant allocations.We are the custodians of the interests of our people.

“They must trust us through our actions and not only through what we say. Let us fix municipalities and when we have done so, we will have solved half the problems of this country,”

“Our President has reminded us that we are servants of the people, hence at COGTA we have our own Thuma Mina pledge that we made, that we want to be there when we turn our municipalities around. Send Me! I want to be there for nation building, social cohesion and the protection of human rights for all.” concluded Minister Mkhize.

The summit is held under the theme: “Thuma Mina! Towards functional service delivery driven local governance!” 

 

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