South Africa: Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

press release

National Assembly Virtual Budget Vote 3 & 15 Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, MP, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Honourable Speaker;

Deputy Minister Bapela;

Honourable Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee;

Honourable Members;

Chairperson of the National House Traditional leaders;

Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities;

Members of the Provincial Executive Committees;

Chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board and its members

President of the South African Local Government Association;

Chairperson of the IEC

Directors General of DCOG and DTA;

CEO of MISA and Head of the National Disaster Management Centre;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today, we stand in front of you and before the nation to present Budget Votes 3 and 15, as proud servants of our people. We do so proud of our achievements and cognisant of the challenges that lie ahead. Today is 27 years and 3 days since the inauguration of our first democratically elected President -- uTata Nelson Mandela. We recall that on that occasion of Tata said:

"We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination."

We also reiterate the words of former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, [I quote]: "extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere". To these words, we add that injustice anywhere in the world is a threat to human security everywhere. We take this opportunity to denounce the recent attacks by the Israelis and renew our solidarity with the Palestinian people's legitimate struggle for freedom. We also call for the cessation of hostilities.

Honourable Members, we celebrate 150 years of a fighter and defender of justice -- Mam' Charlotte Mannye Maxeke. Her exemplary life in struggle and service to the people, inspires us to act selflessly. Her legacy compels us to stand on the side of the masses of our people, who are still hungry, poor, unemployed, unequal, discriminated against and economically excluded.

These Budgets lay a solid foundation to set us on a path towards building resilient, safe, sustainable, prosperous, cohesive, connected and climate-smart communities. We also subscribe to the truths as laid by our former ANC President comrade OR Tambo who once said:

"It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation."

Vote 3, sets aside over R100,8 billion in the 2021/22 Financial Year. R96 billion of the allocation is constituted by transfers and subsidies to municipalities, in the main. Vote 15 allocates R173,3 million to support developmental traditional leadership which promotes participatory democracy and rural development, as-well-as, agriculture.

Honourable Members, we confront these daunting tasks, in the midst of the biggest pandemic and economic crisis since the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Great Depression of the 1930s. COVID-19 has therefore placed added pressure on government services. Despite these pressures, our internationally acclaimed response to COVID-19 has stood the test of time. It has confirmed the resilient and fighting spirit of this great nation. The President in the State of the Nation Address likened this spirit to that of the Fynbos, which "can adapt to dry, hot summers and cold rainy winters... [and] is wondrous in its diversity".

Indeed, our response has been adaptive and has harnessed our nation's diversities. Guided by the Disaster Management Act and the Risk-Adjusted Strategy, which have been strengthened by the sacrifices made by millions of our people. However, the war has not been won. There is an ever-present danger that the rate of infections may rapidly increase. Even as we roll out the mass vaccination programme, vulnerabilities are high, particularly amongst the young. More than ever before, we must adhere to the protocols of masking, washing hands, sanitizing and maintaining a safe social distance.

We extend our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of MECs, Members of Parliament and Legislatures and Councillors, as well as community members who have lost their lives and loved ones. These include traditional leaders such as King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, King Victor Thulare Thulare and Queen Noloyiso Sandile, who have succumbed to COVID related illnesses. We also take this opportunity to extend our condolences to the Zulu Royal Family who recently lost the Queen Regent, Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, due to non-COVID related health challenges.

Honourable Members, in implementing the DDM in the pilot sites we had also committed to training more than 1 000 young people in partnership with the Department of Rural Development. We are pleased to announce that, so far 554 young people have completed their training in agriculture-related areas such as the production and processing of maize, vegetables, beef, dairy and pork. These young people will either be placed in agriculture institutions or will be supported to start community-based initiatives.

319 young people have been trained in a range of non-agricultural related areas, including Small Business Management, Environmental Waste Management, Hospitality, Construction and Manufacturing. Of these young people:

● 73 have been provided business opportunities by the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality;

● 25 have been absorbed by the eThekwini Metro; and

● 100 have been absorbed by the Wholesale and Retail SETA who will provide them with start-up capital.

In Waterberg, a further 53 young people are being trained in Small Business Management, Environmental Waste Management and Hospitality.

Honourable Members, in order to reverse the apartheid spatial planning legacy, we have allocated R2,9 billion in the MTEF period to the OR Tambo District. This allocation has enabled the implementation of 19 water projects, 12 sanitation projects and 47 road projects. These will be complemented by 12 community implemented projects, to the value of R173 million, including the secondary bulk water project in Mqanduli.

Indeed, we are hard at work. Through our recently launched partnership with the United Nations, we have assembled Business Solutions Centres. The Centres will unlock the necessary value chains for decent work and sustainable development. Through the centres, community-driven businesses, SMMEs and cooperatives will receive capacity building and support in areas such as agriculture, the oceans economy, tourism, energy and the green economy.

We undertook visits to several districts including Harry Gwala, iLembe, Zululand and Alfred Nzo, in the Winnie Madikizela Municipality, together with the champions. Some of these visits have been accompanied by the delivery of much-needed services. For instance, when we visited the Abaqulusi Local Municipality in Zululand, e launched the Water Supply Infrastructure for Bhokwe in ward 5 in the Abaqulusi Local Municipality. This innovative supply and water filter system cost a fraction of building dams and larger reservoirs. There is also a Water Treatment Works Plant to the benefit of the residents of eMondlo, who live in wards 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20.

We are a responsive and caring government, therefore we had set aside close to R618,9 million in national and municipality allocations to address the water and sanitation challenges.

Through this allocation, MISA and DWS have impacted 920 632 households in 205 municipalities. The households have been beneficiaries of the 15 487 water storage tanks, 1 382 water tankers and 235 boreholes.

Our visits have also brought to the fore the lived reality of water injustices, which are in part, a result of us being the 30th driest nation in the world. This reality is compounded by the legacy of apartheid and the infrastructure maintenance shortcomings. These have resulted in the residents of rural South Africa and less affluent areas having no access to water. To address this, we are pleased to announce that the MIG receiving municipalities are now permitted to spend up to 10% of their budgets on urgent water and sanitation repairs and refurbishments. This is above the 8% norm for maintenance work.

Honourable Members, we are also paying particular attention to closing the gender gap. This gap has seen an underrepresentation of women in all economic sectors and the undervaluation of unpaid care work, which is largely conducted by women. Consequently, all the plans developed in the context of the DDM carry with them gender-responsive budgets, targets and indicators. If we cannot attach this gender approach to our activities and budgets, we will never be able to maintain sight on gender equality. For us, this is not an act of charity but a recognition that 'no country can claim to be free until its women are free', as once said by President OR Tambo.

By focusing on the interrelated pillars of the skills revolution, unlocking economic value chains, social transformation and service delivery enhancement, greater impact will be guaranteed. Ultimately, we intend to transform the economic landscape and ownership patterns, in the districts. This we will achieve through creating a new crop of black industrialists who will be at the forefront of creating local jobs and economic development.

Already, the National House of Traditional Leaders has launched the Invest Rural Master Plan which seeks to optimise the rural industrial structure by availing over 1.5million hectares of land. The Invest Rural Master Plan will change the social and economic landscape of South Africa. It will reverse the colonial and apartheid established migration patterns, such that people will migrate out of rural South Africa out of choice and not desperation. Deputy Minister Bapela will elaborate on this groundbreaking initiative.

Honourable Members, the Community Works Programme, with all its challenges, remains an important lifeline for a huge number of people. The key challenges in the programme relate to the administration and model which favours a select few NGOs or NPOs. We have turned the corner with regards to the administrative challenges and are recording progress in key areas such as the on-time payment of participants. Additionally, we have enhanced the Management Information System, so that it can interface with other government systems such as the Home Affairs System and PERSAL. This will enable us to identify fraudsters and corrupt officials.

Once we have finalised the remodelling we will be able to identify and target community-based initiatives. Once identified we intend to upskill the participants, in key areas such as agriculture, the paving of roads, fixing of potholes, fisheries, to name but a few. Once trained we intend to exit the participants by providing them with employment or supporting their SMMEs and cooperatives. In so doing, we will be able to pave a way for new cycles of participants. This year we have targeted 250 000 participants.

Honourable members, the DDM sets us on a long-range planning path, which requires the attainment of short and medium-term goals. In this regard, work is afoot in the pilot sites where we are finalising the One Plans and One Budget. The plans also make a case for the development of the Oceans Economy and South Africa's coastline.

Consequently, the Premier of KZN in this year's State of the Province Address announced the development of the entire KZN Eastern Sea Board which includes the Districts of Ugu, iLembe and King Cetshwayo. This development is to be complemented by the ongoing work being undertaken in the Eastern Cape. All this and all our plans will require Inter-Provincial and Inter-Governmental planning, collaboration and implementation. We have met with the two provinces separately and will soon have a joint meeting with them and their districts. Last month, the Premier of Limpopo also convened the national and provincial political champions for Limpopo.

Going forward, we will prioritise the ten poorest districts. The government cannot develop these localities alone. We will need the inputs of our communities, civil society, the private sector, investors and international partners.

Honourable Members, according to Stats SA, only 45% of our households can keep up with water payments. Unemployment is on the increase with it reaching a record high of 32,5% as is poverty with 60% of our population living below the upper poverty line. This together with the negative effects of COVID has resulted in residents being unable to keep up with the payments. Thus, the debt to and by municipalities are on the rise.

This increased debt is also compounded by losses suffered by municipalities which are as a result of not maintaining and repairing municipal infrastructure. For instance, municipalities lose water long before selling it through leaking and loose pipes. To this end, we have agreed with the National Treasury that municipalities can use up to 10% of the R55,3 billion we have allocated for the various grants over the MTEF. The complexities of accessing these grants, the reallocation rubrics and the historic underspending have also led us to explore alternatives with the National Treasury.

Honourable members, it is critical that the resources entrusted to us by the public are effectively and efficiently used. We are pleased to announce that the Department of Traditional Affairs and MISA have maintained clean audits and that the Department of Cooperative Governance has registered an improvement moving from a disclaimer to a qualified audit. We are not yet there. We will not rest until all our departments receive clean audits.

Honourable Members, the recent Tropical Cyclone Eloise visited 7 provinces and 31 of our Districts, leaving behind untold destruction and hardships. 53 people have lost their lives and 3 people are still missing. We wish to extend our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones.

In future we can avoid these miseries by strengthening our preventative and responsive measures. It is therefore important that the provinces and municipalities ensure that they do not build on flood lines. They must also ensure that the structures communities construct are disaster and hazard-resilient. All of us have the responsibility to heed the warnings when it comes to disasters.

An instrumental forum in minimising fatalities and casualties from tropical storm Eloise was the Inter-Governmental Committee on Disaster Management which involved all spheres of government. Going forward, we intend to reinforce the operating model and framework for disaster management. This will also entail the convening of the National Disaster Management Advisory Forum, as provided for in the National Disaster Management Act. We are also unlocking current impediments with the National Treasury which include the removal of the requirement for the issuance of a declaration prior to the flow of funds.

Honourable Members, the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act commenced on the 1st of April, we are in the process of appointing the associated Commission. We are also grateful for the difficult work undertaken by the portfolio committee and parliament to finalise the Municipal Structures Bill. It is also our intention to finalise for the consideration of the House the Municipal Demarcation Authority Bill.

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 the Demarcation Board managed to hand over its work to the IEC. We are therefore confident that because of the experiences we have gained in the various byelections, we are ready for the 2021 Local Government Elections. These 147 byelections which we have run between November and March were in 133 wards, in all provinces and involved 866 772 voters.

We will also use the 19th May polls which involve 40 wards in 7 provinces with 362 965 registered voters to refine our approaches. We remain confident that the regulations, protocols and plans we have put in place for these and the nationwide October elections, will create an environment for free and fair elections.

The revised COVID-19 regulations enable voter canvassing and voting. We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the IEC in the context of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Municipal Elections. We also believe that the elections offer all our parties an opportunity to fix the municipalities by deploying and sending our best to this sphere of government which is most important to our people.

We also take this opportunity to thank the chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee. We thank the Deputy Minister, the President of SALGA, the Directors General, Heads of the Entities and Agencies of COGTA, and the staff in the ministry and department.

We request that the honourable members support Budget Votes 3 and 15 because it will contribute towards the eradication of hunger, poverty, unemployment and inequality.

I Thank You

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