Debate by MEC Hlomuka on 2019/20 Budget for National Department of Cogta

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DEBATE ON 2019/2020 BUDGET FOR NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS

BY HON. SE HLOMUKA

KZN MEC FOR COGTA

NCOP: 19 JULY 2019

Honourable Chairperson;

Honourable Members;

It is said that time and spaces are significant determinants in history as they define the actuality of any period. They tell us about the challenges and opportunities of any period and the possibilities permitted by such period.

The Honorable Minister, during the Budget presentation eloquently defined the actuality of the period we are in as a country and quite succinctly sketched the bright possibilities ahead – particularly the mission to grow South Africa and create nothing but jobs! Jobs! And more Jobs !

In her articulation of our radical socio-economic agenda to grow South Africa, the Honourable Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, took full charge of the cooperative governance and traditional affairs, vehicle that will transport this country on a journey towards achieving NDP vision 2030.  There can be no doubt that in Honourable Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, we have a driver who knows where she and her team are heading.

The 2019/2020 budget for national Cogta, was bound to be an impressive budget because it presents a vision that will take the sector of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to another level. This comes from a minister with a stellar career in championing ground breaking developments as a former Minister of Health, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the African Union Commission.  Many of her achievements in each of these portfolios now form part of the collective legacy of our successive democratic governments.

We are lucky to have Dr Dlamini-Zuma in charge of Cogta at a time when this portfolio is seeking reclaim its role of being a developer of choice for South Africa. We are confident that Dr Dlamini-Zuma will bring her vision, her special brand of energy, her hands-on management, her judgment and her woman’s touch to Cogta addressing the stubborn challenges facing the local governance sector such as precarious finances, governance issues and service delivery shortcomings.

As articulated by the Minister, policy continuity and change will define the work we will collectively perform in this sector. The ongoing Back to Basics programme is a good starting point for any discussion of local government in South Africa today. The programme rests on the pillars of governance, financial management, service delivery, capacity building, and public participation. Dr Dlamini-Zuma has made clear how she intends to deal with each of these areas in her budget speech.

Coming from the province of KZN – which has the largest number of municipalities of any province, the largest number of deep rural and the largest number of traditional leaders, we would like to bring our own experiences and solutions to the vibrant debate in this House and the debate on the future of local governance in our country as a whole.

In many ways, KZN is the microcosm of local government in South Africa. We are representative of both its successes and its shortcomings. In order to maximise the successes and minimise the shortcomings, we have undertaken an assessment of the current state of local government in our province. Its aim was to get to the bottom of the multiple challenges and to sharpen our own response as Cogta to them.

We have collected up-to-date information, reconciled it with the existing municipal reports and corroborated it with the municipal leaders, both administrative and political, in each one of KZN’s 54 municipalities. We have found municipalities with unfunded budgets, high levels of irregular expenditure, unspent conditional grants, high vacancy rates and poor state of service delivery to communities.

With all of this information on hand, we have formulated in details how our support programmes will have to change to offer comprehensive and targeted support to municipalities that is tailor-made to their specific needs and challenges. Going forward, we will support as best as we can, but we will also demand strict consequent management for all manner of wrongdoing.

We are determined to build on the successes we have, such as the 34 municipalities with unqualified audits, all of which we will support so that they can graduate to the clean audit category where we already have Okhahlamba. We will also build on the successes of municipalities that have excelled in the provision of universal access to electricity, such as Kokstad and Danhauser which have electricity in every ward. We will respond comprehensively to the challenges of non-payment for services.  We will roll-out campaigns to encourage communities to pay for what they use.  We commit to ensuring that we will write a new narrative for local government in the coming years and we will ensure that this sector is repositioned to achieved its sustainability phase as envisage in the local government white paper.

At the same time, we will be uncompromising when it comes to maladministration, fraud and corruption. We will continue to conduct forensic investigations, speed up the tabling of our reports in the affected councils and sharpen our tools in ensuring that our recommendations are implemented even when this means that those fingered in the investigations are brought to book and lost funds are recovered.

We are encouraged by the recent judgment by the Western Cape High Court where a custodial sentence has been imposed on a former Municipal Manager for offences relating to irregular expenditure. This adds bite to the provisions contained within the MFMA and we hope that our Municipal Managers will note the possible consequences for failing to prevent irregular expenditure in their municipalities.

As we consider our best response to the challenges in our own municipalities, we rest assured that our counterpart department at national level is in the best possible hands of Hon. Minister Dlamini-Zuma. We pledge to work with her as she tackles the day to day running of one of South Africa’s most contentious portfolios and we also pledge to give her our unwavering support.

In conclusion Honourable Chairperson, I want to say.  We are led by a woman of less talk and more action, indeed as Thomas Sankara instructed us, in this sixth administration “Our revolution will not be a public-speaking tournament. Our revolution will not be a battle of fine phrases. Our revolution will not simply be for spouting slogans that are no more than signals used by manipulators trying to use them as catchwords, as codewords, as a foil for their own display. Our revolution is, and should and will continue to be, the collective effort of revolutionaries to transform reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of our country”.

As KZN we welcome and support the budget presented by the Honourable Minister of Cogta.

I thank you!

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT POLICY DIRECTIVE FOR THE SIXTH TERM OF OFFICE ADDRESS BY HON. SIPHO HLOMUKA

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT POLICY DIRECTIVE FOR THE SIXTH TERM OF OFFICE

ADDRESS BY HON. SIPHO HLOMUKA

KZN MEC FOR COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS,

BERGVILLE: 21 JUNE 2019

Programme Directors;

Your Worships, the Mayors;

Municipal Managers;

Head of Department, Mr. Tubane;

Cogta officials;

Ladies and gentlemen;

All protocol observed

Introduction

Let me start by thanking the leadership of Okhahlamba Local Municipality for hosting us today and let me extend our heartfelt congratulations to you as our clean audit loadstar. Thank for the hospitality and for flying the flag of our province high.

I am deeply honoured to be afforded an opportunity to engage with the leaders and senior bureaucrats of our most important sphere of government – municipalities. You are the people who are manning the forward trenches in our quest to deliver a better life for all our citizens and it is through this sphere of local government that ordinary people experience government first-hand.

I would like to first and foremost thank the many of you who sent us messages of congratulations and best wishes following our appointment. We had a bit of trepidation as we contemplated the road ahead and the magnitude of the task at hand but your messages of support have given us confidence, warmth, excitement and pride because we now know that we can count on you as our partners on this important journey.

I warmly welcome you and thank you very much for all the positive encouragements.

Renewed Mandate

Yesterday, His Excellency President of the Republic, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, presented his State of the Nation Address, which details a five-year programme of priorities of the sixth administration of the democratically elected government of the country. In his address, the President issued an open invitation to all sectors, especially local government: he said that, collectively, we must grow South Africa and create jobs.  These are the new marching orders and part of the renewed mandate for us and this is a new barometer that the citizens will use to measure our performance.

We therefore felt it is very important that we engage early on as the session of the sixth administration gets in motion so that all of us can identify the role we will play in promoting and ensuring the realisation of this national programme of action.

We have all been recently on the ground where we were campaigning in the elections and we heard for ourselves the views and frustrations of ordinary citizens. I think we all agree that this has been the most difficult election because the voters, as we were interacting with them, have been asking difficult questions. Indeed it has become evidently clear that they are and will continue to hold us accountable. The voters have been unequivocal in that they will not give any government a blank cheque; they have put us to yet another test and we dare not fail this test.

The only way we will pass the test is by responding to and delivering on the commitments we have presented to them.

Key to that commitment is that we will have a stable system of local government that is faster in implementing programmes to change the lives of our people.

For this to be achieved, it is critical that we proceed from an identical service delivery script where we are clear about our respective roles and what is expected of all of us as elected public representatives. Unity of purpose is an important ingredient of success. We cannot be pulling in different directions and still expect to succeed. This requires that we must listen to each other, learn from each other and always strive for consensus. Munimec is an important forum for intergovernmental relations in this province and it is also a platform where we must perfect listening to each other, learning from each other and forging consensus.

New Dawn and Khawuleza

We are in this era of the New Dawn where now government has been sent (Thuma Mina) to now implement faster and faster (Khawuleza) a better life to all citizens.  Those of us who have been around in the sphere of local government will remember that we started by diagnosing the problems, we then emerged with a turnaround programme, thereafter we went back to basics. The question now is where do we go from here and the answer can only be “implement”! Deliver! Implement faster!

We are in that age where the dust has to be seen flying as we engage in implementation. As we do so, we are acutely aware that we will be building upon the solid foundation laid by many of you, colleagues, including my predecessor, Honourable Nomusa Dube-Ncube and the many generations of councillors and local government practitioners.

We therefore have a critical task ahead to break new ground. This means that we have to urgently respond to the major problem areas that impede the performance of local government and affect ordinary citizens. These include job creation and attracting investment, the land question, striving for greater efficiency in service delivery,  responding more quickly to community concerns, speeding up transformation of the apartheid landscape by encouraging more racially-integrated residential areas, increasing capacity via effective management instead of relying on the crisis-driven interventions, improving municipal revenue collection, ensuring that financial commitments are commensurate with resources, and co-ordinating the work of community development officers, municipal councillors and ward committees.

We have to attend to a number of inherent challenges that present stumbling blocks to local government achieving its full developmental potential. Part of this is the problem of uncoordinated planning and implementation. A common complaint of municipalities has been that national and provincial government and state entities implement their programmes in local areas without the full participation, knowledge and input of municipalities.

We have just emerged from the Cabinet Lekgotla which was convened by our Premier, Honourable Sihle Zikalala, and I want to assure you that we have a new vigour and determination to address this long-standing anomaly. It is time that we move beyond just theory towards practice and walk the talk when we say the IDP is our bible of implementation as government. The IDPs have to incorporate what will be implemented by other spheres of government in municipal spaces. We are going to use all the available intergovernmental relations platforms to make sure that departments and entities provide resources for the programmes they committed themselves to on the IDP. We want them to do this on time and not in the last quarter of the financial year when they have to clean their books as they fear under-expenditure.

A writer once said that local government in South Africa at times acts like “a chicken whose legs have been tied for too long”.

In other words, even when the chains that bind the chicken’s legs are loosed, it remains at a loss for what to do with its newfound freedom. This descriptive analogy apparently refers to the failure of local government to harness its newfound power in post-apartheid South Africa and to claim its rightful position as the driver of development at the local level, and instigator of bottom-up growth and progress, which is meant to shape and transform our society. In this era we want to see local government fortifying its role as a service provider of choice and not acting like a poor cousin of national and provincial government.

For this to happen, we have to ensure that we have the correct capacity and we are able to deliver. The common concern that is often raised is that municipalities are under-capacitated. This we must address speedily because after 19 years in the life of local government, we should not be making such excuses. Critics argue that the challenges are as a result of placing the major burden of responsibility for the delivery of social services, in large measure, on the weakest level of government: municipal or local government. Our task in this era will be to change this state of affairs.

To reclaim the lost confidence, we have to attend to the issues of how we manage the resources of our municipalities. The latest audit reports from the Auditor-General indicate that as a province we received only one clean audit, which is here at Okhahlamba Municipality. This is indicative of the work that lies ahead of us. I am sure that, as we are about to close the books and prepare the annual financial statements, this picture is going to change.

Equally we have to rise to the challenge of consumer municipal debt which I am advised is now standing at some R14-billion and increasing. We have a challenge now where some municipalities are on the road to defaulting on their responsibilities, such as Eskom. This is an area of grave concern and we have to mount a serious campaign to persuade our residents to pay for services.

This should start by ensuring that our billing departments send out accurate and up-to-date accounts to ratepayers.

Land Reform

Our government is currently formulating how deal with the challenge of land reform and the operative word, once again, is “implement”. As local government, we need to identify our role in this and determine how we can assist our partners in the national and provincial government in ensuring that title deeds are restored to all rightful owners of land within our respective municipal jurisdictions. As the new MEC for Cogta in KZN, I would like to see our sphere of local government taking the front seat in the regard and our municipalities have a range of tools they can use to speed up land reform. Let us, for instance, deploy our existing structures, such as CDWs and municipal War Rooms, in identifying land reform beneficiaries and let us use our muscle to facilitate the legal procedures in fast-tracking this government initiative on the ground working with the Department of Human Settlement.

Job Creation and Working Economy

Another message that came very strongly out of the State of the Nation yesterday was the urgency in creating jobs and improving the resilience of our economy. We sometimes forget that the bulk of economic activity takes place in municipal spaces.  This is where we need to work to improve the state of our economy. If we are to improve the overall economic growth of the province, we have to start in individual municipalities.

We need to mobilise businesses and create conditions where business people can invest and thrive. No business is going to invest in a municipality that is dysfunctional, disorganised or a by-word for non-efficiency and red tape. We need to attend t infrastructure and aesthetic appeal of our municipalities. They must be clean and attractive.  We must support township and rural economies through SMMes so that we create a generation of job creators, not mere job seekers especially among young people. We must tap into the opportunities that the new technological revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing.  To achieve this, we need a clear vision that is tailor-made for the needs of each municipality, that takes into account local strengths and weaknesses that harnesses the local potential.

Cost Containment Measures

We still find ourselves in a situation where the province is impacted negatively by a constrained economic climate and the new Premier, Honourable Sihle Zikalala has made it clear that the cost-cutting measures the Provincial Government introduced to improve our finances must stay in place. The cost-containment measures now formally extend to municipalities and what this means is that we all have to remain prudent in spending our finances, prepare for budget cuts and reprioritisation. Against this background, we must still do our work effectively with fewer resources, managing them effectively and receiving value for money. We are in this together and we must encourage each other as we adhere to our respective cost containment measures.

Need for Stability

I believe that, going forward, we should be more proactive in raising the red flags before things deteriorate too far for us to take quick remedial action.  One of the prerequisites of well-run municipalities and traditional institutions is that they must enjoy high levels of stability. We appeal that we stop engaging in power games and occupy ourselves more with services to the community.  We need to create a legacy of our work and not be remembered for maintaining the status quo in our municipalities.  We are almost three years into the era of local government, we need to take stock of the work we have done since we assumed office. Is it a record we are proud of? If not, lets use the time to catch up and refocus.

Professionalism and Integrity

The people of South Africa have made it very clear in the 2019 elections as to what they expect of their elected public representatives. They have reminded us that we are servants of the people from whom they expect efficient and professional service. I appeal to all of you to perform your duties and functions in a manner that put people first and with professionalism and integrity as your ultimate values to live up to these expectations. We have all been given people’s trust and we cannot betray it. Integrity, in particular, is a very important currency, colleagues. You can do many good things and commit just one mistake to undo all your integrity. Once lost, reputation for integrity can easily be lost forever.

Fighting Corruption

Even as we ourselves do what is right, we must also be driven by courage to prevent or report any corrupt practices that we observe as these will ultimately reflect badly on all of us. After all, we are all part of the sphere of local government and we do not want to be painted by the same brush if some of us are involved in any form of corruption. Let us all be clear: corrupt practices are going to be punished without any fear or favour. As Cogta, we are well equipped to conduct forensic investigations into all reported instances of fraud, corruption and maladministration in municipalities. Our past record in this area speaks for itself.

As a former civil servant, I would like to implore all of you that we must work in a business-oriented manner and always put people first as Batho Pele principles guide us. We must be functional, efficient and effective. Without these attributes, the sphere of local government in KZN will falter.

Conclusion

As we conclude this opening address, we would like to reiterate our longstanding wish from Cogta’s side that the communication between you in municipalities and us in the department is always smooth and productive. We would also like to impress upon you that Munimec is primarily a forum for municipalities to raise issues that affect them. Cogta is merely the convener of these meetings. We would therefore appeal to you to take full advantage of this forum and bring issues for discussion at Munimec at your own initiative. We are aware that in the past, the vast majority of Munimec agenda items originated with Cogta and this may have given a false impression that we are in charge of this body when Munimec is in fact a cooperative arrangement.

On a related note, we would also like to sound a note of concern about the functionality of our inter-governmental relations. In the past, too many IGR meetings were being cancelled at the last minute and some meetings that did take place were not quorate to take decisions. Needless to say, this has impacted negatively on decision making and one consequence of this have been delayed or entirely hampered service delivery projects, particularly at district level.  Our appeal to you today – as we start from a clean slate – is to afford our IGR structures the seriousness they deserve.

We look forward to learning from you, working with you and improving the lives of communities together with you. I will be embarking on a tour of all municipalities in the various regions of KZN so that we all are ready to sing from the same hymn book.

I wish to thank all of you for making time to travel from all over the province to attend this Munimec. Our deepest gratitude cannot be expressed through words but we will forever be grateful for your presence and for all the ideas, knowledge and  information you are going to share with us. I wish you the best for the entire journey of the sixth term of democratic government that lies ahead of all of us. Let us grow South Africa together!

I thank you!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kzncogta

Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

Ends.

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Media Statement: Millions of rands announced by MEC Hlomuka for resettling flood victims

Posted Posted in News, Speeches

MEDIA BRIEFING ON REBUILDING EFFORTS IN THE WAKE OF KZN EASTER FLOODS

BY HON. S. HLOMUKA

KZN MEC FOR COGTA

DURBAN: 11 JUNE 2019

Ladies and gentlemen of the media

Thank you for availing yourselves for today’s media briefing.

The purpose of this engagement is to give an update on the progress we are making towards rebuilding people’s lives and infrastructure following the devastating storm that wreaked havoc in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and left a trail of destruction in its wake over Easter.

You will all recall how on Monday, 22 April 2019, as we returned from the long Easter weekend, we woke up to the news of a terrible tragedy caused by a natural disaster that adversely affected various communities in the eThekwini, Ilembe, Ugu and King Cetshwayo municipalities. The ferocious storm that led to more than 70 deaths had its epicentre along the coastal areas of KZN, primarily in and around eThekwini where most casualties and damages to property occurred.

We know it as a matter of fact now that the damage that was caused on infrastructure, including houses, roads, power networks, schools and health facilities, was quantified to the figure of R1,1-billion, with eThekwini alone accounting for over R650-million of the damages caused.

Since the incidents occurred, we have had to respond as government through the provision of emergency support. We assisted all those affected in terms of temporary shelter, including providing them with food, blankets, mattresses and immediate necessities. We responded to the injured, we attended to the bereaved families, including by ensuring that they are assisted to lay their loved ones to rest in dignity and provided with post-trauma counselling. All of these efforts required resources as part of the immediate interventions. So we began spending money as soon as the disasters occurred.

We then assigned teams which visited every affected household to conduct detailed analysis of the damages caused to personal property as well as public property. This then informed the decision by the then Premier, Honourable Willies Mchunu and the Executive Committee in the fifth administration to declare the province a disaster area. We approached the National Government and indeed the responses have been very fast and various departments are starting to work with us to respond to the outstanding infrastructural issues.

Today I can report that most of the affected residents whose houses were flooded and others who were evacuated and rescued as part of our proactive interventions have returned home and their lives are now back to normal.

We however, still have some of the storm victims who are accommodated in shelters, owing to the fact that they cannot be returned to the areas they lived in because the land is not suitable for habitation (due to being prone to flooding).  Others had their homes completely destroyed. We are aware that the city is hard at work at identifying suitable replacement land for them.

We will be visiting the Burlington community hall today to update the citizens on the work we are doing to get their lives back to normality.

Today we want to announce that through the collective effort and coordination by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, an amount to the tune of R90.8-million has been made available through the approval by the national Department of Human Settlements for eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality to expend:

  • 3-million on 772 transitional housing units
  • 1-million to assist 3017 households with building materials to rebuild their homes, and
  • 3-million for relocation costs where it is deemed necessary.

I can also announce that today, as some of you may be aware, my colleague, MEC for Social Development, Honourable Nonhlanhla Khoza, is engaging with the families of those who lost their loved ones and handing over a once-off support grant to each family to the tune of R20 000 and in total amounting to R1.44-million.

Similarly, our Department of Transport is assisting toward the rebuilding of road infrastructure and municipalities continue to reconstruct access roads where necessary.

Clearly we are hard at work and we are determined to put this tragedy behind us. We are dedicated to the long-term recovery of areas affected by this disaster, helping to restore and recreate safe and healthy homes and communities. We continue to appeal to the insurance companies to assist their insured clients timeously.

By working together, we can ensure each and every one of our neighbours can return to a safe and healthy place of living.

I have just concluded a session with the good Samaritans who selflessly came on board and helped us to fast-track emergency relief efforts. They included NGOs, private businesses and ordinary citizens. We continue to be humbled by these gestures of ubuntu and all the efforts that have been made to mitigate the suffering of the disaster victims. We also extend the word of appreciation to the media fraternity for the work you have done to tell the tale of the unfolding tragedy and to inspire everyone to support our citizens in need.

Let us all continue to work together to ensure that we do not leave anyone behind and that we help all those affected to recover swiftly. Until every family and individual affected by the disaster is back in a safe environment and able to continue with their lives as normal, our work is not done.

CONCLUSION

Once again, we wish to thank the humanitarian agencies, the media, the national, provincial and local disaster emergency and response teams, the security agencies, medical personnel and all members of the public who have shown exemplary acts of compassion and care to the victims and affected families in providing assistance and support, both moral and material.

We pledge to continue to work with all of these stakeholders to ensure that all lives disrupted by this tragedy will eventually return to normal.

I thank you!

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila 082 474 1882

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kzncogta

Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

Ends.

 

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MEC Dube-Ncube responds to DA propaganda

Posted Posted in News, Speeches

Statement by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Honourable Nomusa Dube-Ncube in response to the allegations peddled by the Democratic Alliance

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the media

One of the respected writers once said that “in the new century, the likelihood of untruth has become so much more prevalent”.

There can be no better evidence of this expression than the dose of untruthful, biased and misleading propaganda dished out at the Democratic Alliance’s media briefing today. In fact, what we are witnessing is a classic case of a slowly but surely dying Democratic Alliance believing in its own delusions. In their obsession and an act of desperation to defame us, especially taking the context and the timing, the DA has served nobody, other than being mercenaries of their handlers and purveyors of fake news that is inaccurate, out of context and devoid of any real facts.

What was dished out today was nothing but a rapid repackaging of largely unchecked, second-hand material, much of it designed to serve the political interests of those who provided it to them and play to the gallery on the eve of the ANC Elective Conference.

Under normal circumstances, we would not have responded or dignified the DA’s garbage with our comments, but because our vulnerable members of the public are now victims of being infected with falsehood, distortion and propaganda, we feel obligated to protect them. The so-called explosive dossier is nothing more than a hasty, incomplete, and inevitably flawed and inaccurate rendering of some of the things we have heard about since we arrived in this department. The most interesting thing is that this propaganda offensive gets into overdrive every time there is an ANC conference.  

Some of the distortions peddled today are what we have been responding to and addressing, however, in a strange, alarming and generally unnoticed development they get recycled and get pumped out as new information as a way of enhancing the waning fortunes of the Democratic Alliance and their handlers.

We note with concern, anger and disbelief, the relentless efforts to drag my name and that of the department into the private affairs of my husband who is a long standing and reputable businessman. This is deliberately concocted in order to create an impression in the public mind that there are mischievous dealings on my part which has facilitated the awarding of the contracts in some municipalities.

I would like to state for the record that any allegations of corruption or irregularities are viewed in a serious light and must be investigated without fear or favour and regardless of who is involved and if wrongdoing is proven, appropriate actions and sanctions should be taken. Today we have brought evidence of the forensic investigations, we have undertaken in various municipalities, without fear or favour.

I am concerned about the ongoing fishing expedition to link me to the business involvement of my husband which I consider, in the absence of any tangible proof, to be a political witch hunt and a trial in the court of public disinformation.

The fact of the matter is that my husband’s business involvement in the public and the private sector far predates our personal relationship and marriage. The timing of these allegations and the mission to discredit me is as interesting as the omission of my husband’s long standing business involvement with municipalities, which dates back to when I was still Ambassador based in the Czech Republic and had no knowledge that one day I will be the MEC responsible for municipalities.

I note with concern the selection of narratives to exclude business involvement of my husband beyond the borders of KZN and South Africa, which is deliberately done to create an impression that his businesses are prospering because of my tacit blessing and that I had turned a blind eye to the alleged irregularities because of our relationship. I am also not surprised that these allegations are beginning to feed an opportunistic political campaign to discredit me and my public standing.

I want to state for the record that I am an independent woman with a career of my own dating back for more than 38 years. In all these years, I have always been able to distinguish between the responsibilities I have been given in terms of my job and my private life. Clearly this is a deliberate campaign to impugn my reputation in the court of public disinformation. I have, since our marriage, submitted Financial Disclosures to both the Provincial Executive Council and the Provincial Legislature as required by the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, 1998, (Act No. 82 of 1998), that included a disclosure of my husband’s entire business interests. This, however, should not define me as I have always had my own career and property even before I met my husband.

I take serious exception to not being defined through my own credentials. What is evident in the DA allegations is that it has become part of the machinery of patriarchy advocates and cheerleaders of male chauvinism to run a malicious and barbaric agenda that is aimed at stripping me of my dignity and identity as a woman, and defining me through a man. I consider the DA’s actions demeaning and insulting to women like me.

As a matter of fact, I do not sit in any interviews or appointment of senior managers in municipalities. I also do not participate in supply chain processes, not even in the department. I therefore feel prejudiced with the selective use of my name to define me through my husband’s business matters. My appeal is that inferences should not be drawn as to cast aspersion on my integrity on matters I have nothing to do with and in which my partner’s act of impropriety has not been mentioned or proven.

The despicable and amateurish attempts by the hired guns – the Desperate Alliance – will not succeed and, in fact, South Africans will become wise to the fact that the DA is now a mercenary under the control of hidden masters.

Deconstructing DA myths

  1. On the matter of the appointment of Municipal Manager of Nkandla, it is necessary to place on record that the DA’s account of this appointment is factually incorrect. I have in fact instituted a High Court Application against the Nkandla and Mthonjaneni Municipalities, due to the fact that the Municipalities have failed to comply with my directives in terms of section 54A(7) of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act No. 32 of 2000).

The Notice of Motion involving the Nkandla Municipality was issued by the Registrar of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 11 May 2018, and allocated Case No. 5369/18P, before the papers were filed and served on all the Respondents. To date, neither the Municipality, nor either of the other two Respondents have filed a Notice to Oppose, as a result of which the matter will be heard in Court on 28 June 2018, on which date my legal representatives will request the Court to grant the order setting the appointment of the Municipal Manager aside. Copies of the application are available in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, but can be made available if requested.

The Notice of Motion involving the Mthonjaneni Municipality was similarly issued by the Registrar of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 11 May 2018, and allocated Case No. 5370/18P, before the papers were filed and served on all the Respondents. In this matter all three Respondents have filed Notices of Opposition, and pleadings are currently being exchanged whereafter the matter will be set down for argument of the Opposed Motion Roll.

  1. As far as the appointment of Brand Partners by the Nkandla and Mthonjaneni Municipalities is concerned, I wish to mention at the outset that my husband’s name is Sibusiso Ncube, not Sibusiso Dube. In addition, all financial matters in Municipalities are governed by the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act No. 56 of 2003), not the PFMA, and I am surprised that the DA cannot even get such simple facts correct when they create such enormous hype about alleged “damning evidence of corruption”.

In light of the fact that I approached the High Court nearly a month ago to set the irregular appointments of the Municipal Managers at the two Municipalities aside, I am amazed by the audacity of the DA, who on the one hand allege that I irregularly approved the appointment of the two Municipal Managers (which I have shown to be patently false), whilst on the other hand it alleges that I corruptly facilitated the appointment of my husband’s company in the two Municipalities. As I have indicated above, I am not involved in any procurement matters, not in my own Department, and especially not in Municipalities, which fall within a different sphere of government. What reasonable person would believe that a Municipality would appoint my husband’s company, at a time when I am taking that Municipality to Court to challenge the appointment of its Accounting Officer. That is ludicrous in the extreme, and I reject the allegations against me out of hand.  I am not aware of the appointment of Brand Partners in any Municipality, as I am not involved in his business, and do not follow the day-to-day operations of his businesses, or the bid awards of Municipalities.

Whilst I have noted the allegations, I am of the opinion that the allegations are defamatory in nature, and I reserve my rights in this regard. I will consult with my legal advisors and then decide on the appropriate response to the allegations, which I have shown to be devoid of any truth whatsoever.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Msawakhe Mayisela, 060 966 4220

Ends

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Reconstitution of Houses of Traditional Leadership reaches climax tomorrow as Provincial House convenes

Posted Posted in Speeches

KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube has in terms of section 38(1) of the KZN Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, 2005 (Act No. 5 of 2005) announced the convening of a special meeting of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders which, among other business, will see the swearing-in and taking of oath of office of new members of the Provincial House for the new term of office.

The occasion will also witness the election of various office bearers, including the Provincial Chair, Deputy Chair and Exco Members. The Provincial House will also elect its representatives to the National House of Traditional Leaders.

The reconstitution and elections of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders are intended to synchronise the term of office of the Provincial House with that of the National House of Traditional Leaders.

All Local Houses of Traditional Leaders in KZN were dissolved a few months ago and fresh elections have since taken place in all 11 districts of the province. The meeting of the Provincial House is the pinnacle of the reconstitution process as required by the law.

KZN constitutes the largest number of traditional leaders in the country and amakhosi are a key governance structure that plays a catalytic role in facilitating service delivery and development in the province.

Deputy Judge President of KZN will preside over the proceedings which will be attended by all amakhosi from the length and breadth of the province. The premier of KZN Willies Mchunu and Members of the Executive Council will also officiate at this event.

Members of the media are invited to attend this historic occasion, the details of which are as follows:

 Date:  Thursday, 14 September 2017

Venue: Durban City Hall

Time: 09:00am

 For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 302 3472

ENDS

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MEC Dube-Ncube condemns vicious attack on Mpofana Mayor

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KZN MEC for Cooperative governance and traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has roundly condemned what appears to be an attempted torching of Mpofana Mayor Xolani Duma’s house by unknown assailants on Monday night. The Mayor and his family were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

The assailants reportedly stormed Mayor Duma’s home in the early hours of the morning while he was asleep inside with his family including a one-year old child. Tyres were burnt in front of the house and the occupants struggled to get out as smoke was coming inside.

“As Cogta, we condemn this act of cowardice directed at an elected public representative in the strongest language and we urge the law enforcement agencies to investigate this incident without delay,” said KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

KZN Cogta has repeatedly condemned recent attacks on public representatives in local government and traditional institutions, some of which have resulted in casualties. The department views violence against councillors and amakhosi as completely unacceptable  and a direct attack on democratic society.

We call upon the police to investigate this incident speedily and leave no stone unturned.

Media enquiries: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Msawakhe Mayisela, 060 966 4220

Ends.

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MEC Dube-Ncube urges women not to give up fight for their rights

Posted Posted in Speeches

 

KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube says women will never be fully emancipated, if they are not united. Dube-Ncube was speaking to hundreds of women attending a Women’s Day celebration in Dannhauser in northern KZN.

She said that only through unity, would women be in a position to devise solutions to the innumerable challenges facing them daily. She urged women to stand up against men who continue to abuse women and children by reporting them to the law enforcement agencies.

“If one woman is abused, all women in a village should stand up against this scourge. Some women keep quiet, knowing very well that their neighbour is abused daily. Some go as far being silent when their children are sexually assaulted by their partners. That cannot be right; we need to put a stop to this. Enough is enough and our law enforcement agencies should work with women to rid our communities of these social ills,” said Dube-Ncube.

On economic empowerment, Dube-Ncube urged women to organise themselves to be able to benefit from the Radical Economic Transformation agenda. According to her, all municipalities have been directed to be centres of economic activity and women must at all times be prioritised in these endeavours.

“Our government wants certain goods and services to be procured from women providers. When we are talking about women’s emancipation, economic empowerment must feature permanently in this discourse. Women have been marginalised for years and it is high time that as government we lead by example. We want women to feed schools, hospitals, prisons and supply school uniforms, to mention but a few. We believe this would indeed break the cycle of poverty in our communities, if implemented aggressively,” said Dube-Ncube.

Dube-Ncube appealed for women to be given opportunities to occupy positions of power to excel. This would help to guard against giving credence to stereotypes to the effect that women are incompetent. Men have also been urged to play their part by protecting and supporting women.

ENDS

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D-Day looms for Mandela Day Marathon runners – entries close on 31 July 2017.

Posted Posted in Speeches

With only 7 days left before the deadline date of 31 July 2017, which is a cut-off-date to register to participate in one of Africa’s fastest growing marathon, the Nelson Mandela Day Marathon.   The organisers have issued a call to all runners to urgently register on time to avoid being left out of this iconic marathon which honours the legacy of South Africa’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela.

The Mandela Day Marathon run in spectacular settings and surrounded by a festive vibe from Manaye Hall in Imbali Township in Pietermaritzburg to the Howick Precinct where Madiba was arrested, a historic incident which set South Africa on the journey to freedom.

Runners are urgently requested to visit the website www.mandealadaymarathon.co.za  to download the forms or ABSA Branches across the province to obtain forms or various municipal offices.  The Mandela Marathon Office has extended its hours of work to ensure that applications are processed on time.  On weekdays the Mandela Day Marathon office will open from 08h00 to 20h00 and on weekends from 08h00 to 17h00.

Race categories and Entry Fees include:

42.2 Km R165 (licenced runners only)

21.1 Km R130 (temporary licence R20)

10 Km R110 (temporary licence R10)

4.6664 ( 5Km – Entries Closed)

NB:

  • Runners are advised that there may be no extension of the date as this impact on logistics preparation hence they are implored to register on time before the 31st July 2017.
  • Those who fail to register timeously by the due date will not be allowed to take part in this year’s 6th edition of the Nelson Mandela Day Marathon.
  • A total of over 500 runners who have been running the Nelson Mandela Day Marathon for the 5th consecutive time will receive permanent numbers.
  • This year’s race will be run under the theme #RUN4UNITY, which symbolises Tata Madiba’s vision of a united and prosperous nation.
  • More logistics including water stations, medical facilities, shuttle services and parking facilities and security arrangements have been upgraded to higher schedules this year.
  • Runners are advised that there will be no shuttle services to their starting venues and it is their duty to timeously familiarise themselves with the race routes and parking venues.
  • Runners will also be prohibited from switching from the race they initially registered for to the new one on the date of the marathon.

The 6th Mandela Day Marathon will be held on Sunday, 27 August 2017; starting at the Manaye Hall in Mbali Township, Pietermaritzburg and finishing at Mandela Capture Site in Howick.

Issued by the Mandela Marathon Organising Committee on behalf of uMgungundlovu District Municipality and the Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government. Contact Lennox Mabaso on 082 884 2403 or  Msawakhe Mayisela on 060 9664 220 or Mbali Ndlovu on 0767946830 or Thando Mgaga on 0735412267.

 

 

 

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MEC Dube-Ncube pleads with Municipal Speakers to up their game to ensure functional municipalities

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube has asked municipal Speakers to bring order and decorum to their council meetings. Dube-Ncube was addressing Speakers from the 54 municipalities in KZN during a Speakers’ Forum meeting in Durban today.

The Speakers’ Forum brings together all municipal Speakers to reflect on key areas of oversight, code of conduct and discipline in municipal councils. During her address, Dube-Ncube threw down the gauntlet by telling Speakers to stop wearing political party hats when presiding over council affairs as this was a recipe for chaos.

“We are almost a year in office in this term of democratic government but we are already observing that some council meetings are turning chaotic, not concluding their business and some councillors are not attending meetings. We are reading of councillors failing to pay their municipal bills and being embroiled in disruptive behaviours that tarnish the public positions they hold and the municipalities they lead. While all this is happening, there are no sanctions imposed by Speakers who are the custodians of the Code of Conduct and who are responsible for councillors adhering to the rule of law,” said Dube-Ncube.

“Unless the Speakers understand their roles and responsibilities as defined by our local government legislation, their respective councils will not be managed effectively. The Speaker’s role is key to ensuring oversight, accountability, integrity, discipline of office, and the efficient running of council meetings. One important aspect of this is consequence management of misconduct,” said Dube-Ncube.

“It is important to periodically remind the Speakers of their roles and responsibilities. The Speaker is in charge of the legislative arm of the municipal council. At the same time, the Speaker must protect the ‘checks and balances’ between the legislature and the executive, in other words, the ‘oversight’ that the council must exercise over the actions of the executive chaired by the Mayor,” said Dube-Ncube.

“Currently we are dealing with poor audit outcomes from the Auditor-General, there are matters of emphasis that warrant councils to act and demand answers from the executive. Recently we had to read the riot act to municipalities for delays in the filling of critical positions such those of Municipal Managers, and senior administrators. When all this is happening, I ask myself where the Speakers who should have asked critical questions are. We ask of our Speakers to raise the bar in performing oversight and demanding accountability. Do not be scared to pose difficult questions to your Mayor because you come from the same political party.  You can discuss your matters in caucuses, however, once in council, you must deal effectively with council business. This is the only way our sphere of local government will mature,” said Dube-Ncube.

Dube-Ncube has also urged the Speakers to actively implement the Code of Conduct for Councillors and develop mechanisms to monitor the general conduct and performance of councillors and report to council annually on the conduct and performance of councillors against this Code of Conduct. Failure to uphold the Code of Conduct has been known to lead to lapses in councillors’ discipline.

“The Speaker must likewise facilitate the establishment of an oversight committee or any similar structure to give effect to the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act. The Speaker must ensure that such a committee is functional, well capacitated and well equipped to discharge its mandate. Without adequate oversight, no municipality can hope to function effectively,” said Dube-Ncube.

In addition, Dube-Ncube has appealed to the Speakers to properly institutionalise public participation by encouraging participation of communities and in the decision-making process of their municipalities and develop and maintain mechanisms that ensure and monitor participation of communities in this decision-making process. Public participation, in Dube-Ncube’s words, was key to democratic legitimacy.

For more information contact KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Msawakhe Mayisela, 060 966 4220

ENDS

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Speech: MEC meeting with poor performing Municipalities

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Note to editors: remarks by MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube at a meeting she held with the Province’s poorly performing municipalities. This meeting was held in Durban and was attended by Mayors and Municipal Managers from the affected Municipalities 13 April 2017

Thank you for attending this important meeting with Mayors, Municipal Managers, CFO’s  and other key stakeholders from some of our municipalities, whom I’m sad to say, have not made us very proud as the province of KwaZulu-Natal.  We have convened this platform to reflect on the recent audit outcomes as they impact on all the municipalities we have invited today.

This meeting is taking place only a week after the Presidential Local Government Summit in Midrand where His Excellency President JG Zuma placed a premium on well-functioning municipalities as a prerequisite for the government’s drive for radical economic transformation at local level.  Yesterday the Premier convened the Premier’s Coordinating Forum, which provided the Auditor-General of South Africa, Mr Kimi Makwetu, an opportunity to present before the leadership of the province and municipalities the financial state of our municipalities.

At the outset I want to be categorically clear in expressing my disappointment at the performance of our province in the latest audit outcomes.  KZN has now regressed to 11 clean audits from a total of 22 such outcomes in the previous year. This is an ugly stain in our otherwise good record we have registered over the past five years.

Deeply concerning as well is the level of irregular expenditure by municipalities at R300-million.

Considering how much time and effort KZN Cogta and Provincial Treasury, has invested into municipal audit outcomes by way of supporting municipalities every step of the way, this result is truly disappointing and it must be a wake-up call for all senior municipal officials whose poor performance has caused this as well as all Mayors and councillors.

I am aware that most of the Mayors and councillors, are only seven months in office and cannot be personally held liable, however,  it is important for the Mayors and councillors to understand all the causes and symptoms so that they can understand the areas where they need to exercise strong oversight.

Mayors would have heard from the AG that weak and poor oversight is a major cause of financial collapse in our municipalities.  Unfortunately Mayors and Councilors, new as you are in your positions, our Constitution makes you successors in title, so you inherit the good and the bad and the terrible state we find ourselves in, we all have to clean it up.

The truth is that we cannot even begin to radically transform our local economies for the benefit of the poor if our municipalities continue to perform poorly. Audit outcomes are a good indication of municipal performance and since municipalities are the engines of local economic growth, poorly performing municipalities in terms of audit outcomes suggest that this engine is sputtering. Some of this poor performance has to do with inadequate reporting and non-compliance with local government legislation and some of it relates to poor financial management of municipal resources, of which irregular expenditure and flawed procurement processes are chief symptoms.

Our expectation is that in today’s meeting Mayors should clarify the reasons for this poor performance,

  • Provide an indication of sanctions imposed for poor performance;
  • Presentation of your municipality’s audit response plan and implementation status
  • An indication of your current state of municipal finances and the prognosis for the next audit
  • Recommend areas where Cogta could assist to improve their municipal audit outcomes in the next round of audits.
  • Progress status on the implementation of the Back to Basics plan

Whatever the cause of municipal non-performance, we cannot and will not tolerate it. As Cogta, we are dead serious about managing consequences for poor performance when it comes to municipalities. You would have inferred from our recent interventions in a number of KZN municipalities that we are prepared to take the hard and often unpopular decisions and place failing municipalities under administration. The next question is – are you Mayors prepared to take action against non-performing Municipal Managers and Senior Officials who delivere to us disclaimers and adverse opinions.  It still feels like a dream to me that after such a long time we have a disclaimer and an adverse opinion in this province.

The current state of affairs is tarnishing an otherwise good image of our municipalities.  The AG  has showered us with praises on the performance audit but because of finances, there is not even a reason to celebrate the progress in this area.

Among the key factors identified by the recent Citizen Satisfaction Surveys are community dissatisfaction with poor service delivery, financial mismanagement and allegations of fraud and corruption, coupled with complaints of poor communication with communities.   Poor audit outcomes justify these perceptions by communities.

I am aware that some municipalities are in a financially precarious situation, faced with limited, underutilised and diminishing revenue potential, all of which again bring us back to the Back to Basics programme and its focus on sound financial management.

We must ask ourselves a questions whether  people in strategic positions are fit for the purposes of good, clean and accountable governance of our municipalities.  It is obvious that financial and technical expertise in many municipalities is lacking and that financial management is inadequate. One manifestation of this is the generally poor level of bookkeeping and reporting. This is a constant source of frustration voiced by the Auditor-General and it is also a frustration shared by us at Cogta. As much as we support and assist, our hands are often tied precisely because our job is to support and assist, not manage municipal resources directly unless we intervene in any given municipality in terms of an appropriate constitutional provision.

From our own experience as Cogta, a much tighter system of monitoring and evaluation of the ability and performance of municipalities is required to ensure that they are effectively managing their resources.

The national transfer grants to municipalities are often used up in new development or, worse, utilised to fund operational expenditure. We are pleased to see the National Treasury’s efforts to tighten up on the controls placed on the use of conditional grants and the time has perhaps come to reward those municipalities which utilise them effectively and penalise those that do not. In 2016, we saw those municipalities that were deemed non-viable being redemarcated to become part of other, more viable, entities. Let this be a lesson for those municipalities that fail the test of financial viability in the current term of local government.

We need to address controversial issues in municipal procurement that cause municipalities to overpay for substandard services at the expense of their residents. It is absolutely critical that transparent, equitable and efficient supply chain processes are implemented and monitored by those responsible. Such a system will mean no more shady deals concluded in back rooms and behind closed doors and away from proper municipal oversight. If we at the provincial government level can effectively address the issues of fraudulent, irregular or nepotistic procurement so can our municipalities.

I find it disturbing that our municipalities are still engaging in uncompetitive or unfair SCM processes, or awarding tenders to municipal employees, close family members of employees or other state officials. It is equally disturbing to see the level of inadequate contract management that has been referred to by the Auditor-General in these latest municipal audit outcomes. These are grave concerns and the mismanagement that has caused them simply cannot go unanswered.

Let this meeting be a wake-up call for Mayors and Municipal Managers to ensure that municipalities’ finances are properly managed and accounted for, and that municipalities themselves are fully capacitated. As political and administrative heads of your municipalities, you must ensure that the right people are in the right positions.  Unless municipal officials do their jobs properly and unless their work is overseen adequately by councillors, KZN municipalities will not achieve the audit outcomes their residents as ratepayers expect and deserve.

It is time to up your game. The choice before us is clear:  either you are prepared to take the hard decisions and discharge your duties as elected public representatives or municipal officials in accordance with your respective mandates, or you face the consequences for poor performance. As Cogta, we have already demonstrated that we are not afraid to act. We now want to see harsh consequences for non-performance lead by Mayors and councils,  this is in the interest of the people whom we are all supposed to serve.

I thank you.

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