|Keynote address delivered by the Executive Mayor of Emfuleni Local Municipality Councillor Greta Hlongwane on the occasion of the State of the Municipality Address, Sharpville Hall, 29 May 2012|
|Thursday, 31 May 2012 06:45|
Honourable Speaker of Council: Cllr Msebenzi Gqelosha, Honourable Chief Whip of Council: Cllr Eric Tshabalala, Honourable Members of the Mayoral Committee,
Honourable Mayor of Sedibeng District Municipality, Cllr Mahole Simon Mofokeng, Honourable Councillors, Leaders of political parties, Mr Bob Mthembu, the newly elected Sedibeng ANC Regional Secretary, Chairperson of the Audit Committee and its members, The Municipal Manager: Mr. Sam Shabalala and members of the Senior Management Team, Vice-Chancellor of the North-West University and Vaal University of Technology, Religious leaders, The business fraternity, Miss Emfuleni, Friends from the media, Esteemed guests, Ladies and gentlemen
Honourable Speaker, We are gathered here today for a reason. We are here to employ our minds on one of the major tasks facing our municipality.
We are assembled here to reflect on the state of our municipality. We undertake this exercise not only as a legislative obligation of compliance but also as a deliberate move to unpack and assess our performance, management, political direction and finances and the impact of our programmes on our communities.
We are particularly humbled to be among the ordinary community members of Emfuleni and to take part in such an important event in our calendar year.
I stand here confident in my strong view that the government that was composed on the 10th of June 2011 at the Wilberforce Community College remains a united government of our municipality on behalf of the people of Emfuleni.
It was during that inauguration ceremony that we announced the key defining features of this current administration.
We declared that we want this administration to be known and remembered as one that assigns urgency when dealing with issues of delivery.
We are preparing a stage for a bigger role for Emfuleni not only in the province but also in the formulation and development of a region into a thriving metropolitan economy.
Honourable Speaker and fellow Councillors,
May I also submit that our IDP and budget are also informed by our quest to become a Metropolitan municipality, which directs all of us, the Executive, Council, Administration and the residents of Emfuleni to ensure that our municipality remains strong and viable in our pursuit of attaining the Metropolitan status.
Sustainable livehoods through decent employment
The big four metropolitan governments like Johannesburg, Ethekwini, Tshwane and Cape Town were excluded in this comparative exercise of municipalities to focus on up-and-coming places to do business. Interestingly with great joy and pride Emfuleni Local Municipality was ranked position five (5) in South Africa’s best places to do business. The municipality against all odds is making strides to be one of the best in the whole country.
One of the key interventions that we have proposed to unlock development, is the Vaal Logistic Hub which if successfully implemented could create approximately 10 thousand jobs for Emfuleni and its residents.
A total of about 1345 persons have been appointed to assist in cleaning of streets, and eradication of backlogs in the Waste Department as part of the extended public works programme.
Unemployment and especially youth unemployment is the most important problem in our region. Therefore, Emfuleni has ensured that a unit located in the Mayor’s Office is established to look after interests of the Youth.
In our inauguration we have also said that our 100 days plan of action will have a strong and renewed focus on the youth.
It is for this reason that on the 5th of October last year we convened the first ever Youth Summit of Emfuleni Local Municipality to marshal a way forward and find practical solutions.
Further, we have used the Mayoral Bursary Fund to support best performing learners from needy families. The fund has assisted over 32 students to the tune of R1, 6 million in different institutions of higher learning in the country for the 2011/12 financial year.
We will continue to help students in this regard because we believe in the proverb that says: "it takes a nation to raise a child”.
Informed and participatory communities
I am also happy to report that as Emfuleni we managed to have a smooth transition from one administration to another as we participated in our 3rd democratic local government elections. The incident free elections, greater voter turn-up and strong youth participation during the 2011 elections communicated a strong yet encouraging message that our electoral system is sound and improving.
Fellow councillors, I must take this opportunity to congratulate the office of the Speaker, for hosting a successful People’s Assembly in December 2011. Also important to note is that a Mini People’s Assembly was held this year before we commenced with our IDP consultations with our communities.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Emfuleni was one of those municipalities in Gauteng which was the first to establish all 45 ward committees by October 2011. This is a significant milestone indeed.
We are then calling on all our councillors to continue taking an active part and to have a dedicated interest in the IDP public participation processes as the outcome of these processes would ultimately determine what projects ought to be carried out and resources needed in particular wards.
We continue to play a significant and practical role in responding to complaints arising from the Presidential Hotline and the province. These have alerted us of emerging challenges and allowed us to provide guidance on time to mitigate tensions and community unrest.
We have also created a monitoring and evaluation structure in a form of a rapid response team that will effectively deal with such cases and defuse them with urgency.
It is no coincidence therefore that during the year under review we have significantly reduced the number of protests and petitions, which have been a dominant and principal feature in our recent past.
Viable and sustainable municipal government
Honourable Speaker, it is my sad admission that we continue to see a decline in our revenue base due to low collection rate, high levels of indigents and inability and unwillingness by communities to pay, increasing along with the high rate of unemployment.
Honourable Speaker, we launched “Operation Patala’ (Masakhane) campaign to encourage communities and business to pay. The project is key to ensuring development of Emfuleni and building a culture of payment that is necessary.
Honourable Speaker, under the leadership of this administration we shall implement the following interventions without delay:
Honourable Speaker and Councillors, in the past we used to provide every resident with free basic water and electricity, however due to our financial position for the 2012/13 financial year onwards, the free basic services will be restricted only to indigents, with the same allocation.
We have also revised our method to identifying indigent households as opposed to the previous one; where indigent recognition was based on two (2) state pensions. The method we will be adopting will be provided to households whose properties do not exceed the amount of R 150 000.
Quality rendered, accessible, sustainable and reliable municipal services
Fellow Councillors, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Emfuleni has yet again won the Blue Drop Award which indicates that our water is of high quality and very clean. We continue to put strict measures of ensuring that we don’t pollute our prised asset which is the Vaal River.
We are of the view that the installation of the smart meters for water will go a long way in addressing the billing problems and ensuring a municipality that is financially stable and able to carry out its obligation today and in the future.
To ensure availability of functioning street lights and to address crime, sensors will be installed on each street light to report the condition of the street light to the monitoring office based in our Electricity Department. This will allow the department to fix any streetlight that is not working before the community becomes aware. The sensors will report any light that is not working and provide the exact location of the streetlight.
Emfuleni has also received the MIG grant for the establishment of the Municipal Court in Evaton to the tune of R23 million. We will also establish a Traffic precinct in Evaton. This afternoon the province will be given away to Emfuleni Municipality, a new fire engine which will be utilized by our Public Safety Department.
Projects that will be implemented in next few years is the:
Housing delivery in Emfuleni
On 24 May, Emfuleni together with the MEC for local government in Gauteng launched a project to refurbish Kwa- Masiza Hostel. The project consists of over 600 units and will be completed in 2014. The provincial government has allocated R46 million this year for Sewer and Water connections.
Accountable and clean municipal government
Fellow councillors, the municipality obtained yet another qualified audit opinion for the third year in succession which is a dramatic break from the past which was dominated by adverse audit opinions and disclaimers.
We have implemented Operation Clean Audit and anticipate having to reach a clean audit status before the end 2014. This process has also received much praise from the recent visit by the Provincial legislature and NCOP when conducting their oversight role.
Enterprise Risk Management
A lot of progress has been made in respect of Risk Management. Furthermore, Honourable Speaker, Gauteng Province assessed our current risk maturity at 4 out of 5, compared with the previous 3.4 rating, indicating continuous improvement in our governance processes.
Healthy and safe environment and communities
Emfuleni is taking active role to support people living with disabilities and to this effect hosted a successful Disability Indaba on 31 March 2012. A disability forum was established for the Emfuleni area. This year around June, we will be also involved in a campaign to create awareness on epilepsy.
Honourable Speaker, I am pleased to announce that we have seen a decrease in the incidents of HIV and AIDS in Emfuleni. To ensure that we sustain this momentum we will be embarking on a massive test and know your status campaign.
This afternoon again, there will be an official handover of a mobile clinic from the province which will come on enhancing access to health services. This work will be made since we have established an AIDS Council for Emfuleni which will be the key driver of this programme.
Sport, Arts and Culture highlights
The previous Vaal River Carnival programme was a major success which boasted over 23 strategic events. We have started early with preparations this year to ensure that we take everybody on board.
We have also launched the Emfuleni Gospel Music Association. Emfuleni has produced many well renowned artist celebrated by the entire country and this structure will look after interests and unearth new talent.
Fellow Councillors, Emfuleni will continue with phase 4 of Dickinson Park at the cost of R28 million. Furthermore, Sharpeville outdoor sport facility will be completed in this financial year and Rus-ter-Vaal Sport Stadium. The Rus-ter-Vaal Cemetry will be expanded and a new cemetery will be established.
2012/13 Budget and tariff increases
Our budget stands at a total of about R4,5 billion which represents an increase of about R423 million as compared with that of the last financial year or 11 percent increase on the 2011/12 budget.
The increase is as a result of increases of both electricity and water purchases. An amount of about R3.3 billion or 74% of the budget is allocated to the Basic Services and the Public Safety and Community Development Clusters which are direct service delivery clusters.
Electricity sales at 35% and water sales at 15% account for 50% of our revenue for the 2012 / 2013 financial year. Grants account for 21% of our revenue for the year.
Our capital budget stands at R370 million for the financial year which represents 12% of the expenditure for the year. 63% of the capital expenditure or over R231 million is grant funded while 37% or over 138 million is the municipality’s own funds.
The capital budget is for both new infrastructure as well as renewal of existing infrastructure.
The budget is based on a collection rate of 80% and the challenge in the financial year will be to drastically improve the collection rate.
We are going to pay more meaningful oversight role over the administration. This is particularly important when it comes to service delivery, because it is at this level that the community is at the mercy of the officials.
When we formed the government of this administration, we specifically recommended that we place basic services at the centre of all our political activities. The people of Emfuleni have put us in these positions all of us because they are convinced that we will serve their interests, faithfully, honestly, to the best of our abilities.
I am very pleased that I can count on the support of this House. And we will, ourselves, strive to maintain regular contact with our community.
Honourable Speaker, allow me to express my sincere appreciation to the Mayoral Committee for their unwavering support and wise counsel.
The Budget is our collective statement. Gratitude also goes to the Municipal Manager, who plays a pivotal role in the management and administration of this municipality. We should not forget ordinary community members who provide positive feedback on how the municipality could work better and differently.
Emfuleni Local Municipality would like to thank its residents, citizens, communities, the business sector, religious community and all other stakeholders for their individual and collective contributions towards the formulation of the 2012/13 to 2016/17 Integrated Development Plan and the 2012/13 Budget.
Today, we need to come together, to draw on our collective experiences, put aside our differences and work together towards a better life for all of us. The future we choose today will determine the kind of municipality our children and their children will live in. Let us therefore all roll-up our sleeves and work together smarter towards a uniting vision.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to salute and acknowledge the centenary of the selfless struggles of our glorious movement, the African National Congress and may we continue building unity in diversity towards the second centenary.
I thank you all!
|Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012 11:35|