Address by Jeff Radebe, MP, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; at the occasion of the community Imbizo, Hlohlokwe Community Hall, Maruleng Local Municipality; Limpopo Province
Thank you Programme Director, Cllr Joyce Mahlo
The Executive Mayor of Maruleng, Cllr Happy Thobejane
Traditional leaders present here
Councillors, representatives from the municipality, and members of the community present here
Senior officials from the various components of our government
Ladies and Gentlemen
I must indicate that I am enthralled and deeply grateful for the hospitality accorded to me by the people of Limpopo province. Earlier today, I had a courtesy visit to the traditional authority of the area, Kgosi Sekororo, to pay my respects in accordance with the culture of our people.
I had a warm welcome from Kgosi Sekororo, his herdsmen ad eminent members of the community. We discussed certain issues pertaining to the development of the area, and matters that the traditional authority believes are primary concerns of the community. I will be assigning officials to follow up on some of the issues that we discussed today.
I also conducted site inspections to the SASSA offices in Sekororo, Sekororo Hospital as well as Sekgalabjana Secondary School. Before I go any further, I want you to understand why it is important that we visit these public service facilities and what we are planning to do after these site visits.
Our gathering here today is part of the National Imbizo Focus Week, which is a dedicated period to facilitate direct interaction between government representatives and members of the public. The objective of the engagements is to ensure that we collectively find solutions to pertinent challenges that confront our communities. This is another way in which government reinforces accountability and participatory democracy.
This should not be construed to mean that the izimbizo is the only way in which government reaches out to the public. This forum only complements other instruments that we employ in promoting dynamic interaction between government and members of the public. The izimbizo are also a vital tool to help us facilitate dialogue and ensure that we collectively find solutions to pertinent challenges that confront our communities.
I am here with senior officials from my department to ensure that they record and follow up on each and every issue that is raised. I am inviting you to share your concerns with me today. The officials have already shared with me some of their findings in the preliminary research that they conducted in this area. While each area is unique, there are perennial challenges that confront us as the South African society. We have to join hands and fight the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The key to unlocking of our economic potential and expediting fundamental change is the Radical Socio-Economic Transformation. Radical Socio-Economic Transformation is the pillar of the National Development Plan (NDP), which serves as the bedrock of all government programmes in our journey towards building a better and more prosperous South Africa.
2. The National Development Plan (NDP)
As the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, I am duty-bound to monitor and oversee the progress or lack of it in our communities across the nine provinces of South Africa. One of my core responsibilities is to play an oversight role in assessing service delivery across the different sectors of our society.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation is charged with the responsibility of assessing the quality of service delivery and get a sense of essential interventions where needed. I have to ensure that our endeavours are in line with the targets of the NDP as the overarching plan of the country.
We strive to ensure that basic facilities are accessible to the people and that services are rendered as speedily as it is humanly possible. These duties are performed as part of the Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring (FSDM) responsibilities. The facilities that we assess include police stations, schools, community health centres, the SASSA offices, and other institutions that offer essential services to the people.
3. Service delivery concerns
I have received preliminary reports compiled by the officials from my Department who have been working tirelessly in close collaboration with the Office of the Premier as well as other local structures. They have brought to my attention wide-ranging issues raised by the residents both in Maruleng and in Mopani District Municipality.
The issues raised relate to diverse sectors, from Health to Social Development, Roads and Transport, safety and Security, as well as Sports, Recreation Arts and Culture. If I can mention a few, residents raised the need for graders to assist in levelling the sports grounds and access roads in Maruleng Municipality. Having driven through the road, I can attest to the urgent need for the construction of this road.
There is also a complaint that even though there is a library in the community, it does not have sufficient books. It defeats the purpose to have a building with no resources to empower the people. I would say the library does not only need books, but should ensure that there are books in Sepedi and other local languages. Limpopo is one of the most linguistically diverse provinces, and it is important that we embrace and promote all the different languages recognised by our constitution.
Even though according to our Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT), the province has done remarkably well in improving electricity supply and increasing access to basic services such as water and sanitation, there are areas that are still lagging behind. People are crying for electricity connections in Kanana and Mahlomelong villages.
In several parts of Mopani District Municipality, there are broken water machines, a situation that affects the supply of water to the people. Water pipes need regular maintenance to function optimally and there must be water dam reservoirs to ensure that the supply of water is not interrupted in these areas.
We have also noticed that there is the general problem of poor management practices in some of the critical departments in the province. There is palpable poor performance in areas of Strategic Management, Governance and Accountability, Human Resource Management and Financial Management. The most painful thing is that the departments that display poor performance account for the bulk of the provincial budget.
There are also issues of nepotism and corruption that undermine the efforts that government is making. It cannot be acceptable that whenever there is a tender or employment opportunities, only those associated with certain influential individuals get the opportunities. We must promote equal opportunities for all and ensure that there is transparency in every initiative.
Corruption is a scourge that threatens to reverse the gains of our hard-earned democracy. Government is committed to waging a fierce fight against corruption in all its manifestations. We must join hands and root out corruption whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.
4. Active Citizenry
The success of the NDP and other government interventions is dependent largely on active citizenry and direct involvement of people from all sectors of society. Active citizenry is key to ensuring that we deliver satisfactorily on our mandate.
As government, our doors are always open for engagement with the populace. Instruments such as the Presidential Hotline are established with the objective of assisting members of the public to raise their concerns regarding services rendered by government departments and associated agencies.
We have received many complaints via the Presidential Hotline, and I am proud to say that the majority of them have been resolved. All of these initiatives are established for you, members of the public, to give you a direct line to your government. Please make the best of these resources so that we can create an enabling environment for South Africans to prosper.
While over the years the government has made significant progress in its efforts to develop the impoverished parts of our society, there are perennial obstacles that stand in the way of progress. I believe that you cannot resolve anything without the involvement of the people who are directly affected by the situation. That is why izimbizo are an essential tool to bridge the gap between government and members of the public.
At this stage I want to hand over to you, members of the public, so that you can share your views and voice your concerns. My visit today is about me listening to you so that we can collectively find ways of resolving our challenges in this municipality. This is an opportunity for representatives from the different spheres of government to listen and understand your concerns.
When we leave this room today, we must do so with a clear mandate to go out there and find answers to your questions and concerns. I look forward to your further engagement.
Ke a leboga! Thank you!