Celebrating the 2016/2017 Municipal Service Excellence Awards
and Supporting Local Economic Development
A Community Event Hosted by the Ulundi Local Municipality
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelzi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Prince Mangosuthu Regional Sports Complex: 18 November 2017
As I rise to address the community of Ulundi I feel tremendously proud to call this my home. Today, we have very good reasons to celebrate. We have in fact combined three celebrations into one, making today’s festivities particularly special. I want to thank our Mayor, Councillor Ntshangase, and the Municipal Council for the wise decision to gather all of Ulundi for this important event.
Today we celebrate the men and women who have made outstanding achievements in their chosen field. These individuals are all home-grown heroes and heroines. They are household names in Ulundi, where we talk about them with pride and affection. They have honoured Ulundi with their achievements and now we, the community, would like to honour them.
Through the Ulundi Local Municipality, the Ulundi Heroes Awards celebrates sporting champions from Soccer to Karate, Boxing and Tennis. We celebrate our young rugby players, both male and female, as well as the champions of the Ulundi Golden Games. We celebrate coaches and referees as well as players, knowing that every individual contribution is important.
In addition to sports, perhaps the most well-known heroes are from music and the media. We are fortunate to have some great media personalities hail from Ulundi. Whenever we hear or see them on Ukhozi FM, the SABC and ETV, we feel the pride that comes from knowing these are our people. They grew up here and they are doing big things. They remind us that the size of our city has nothing to do with the size of our hearts.
I am gratified to see my mother honoured among the cultural talents of Ulundi. Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu remains one of our musical icons. Her music has inspired several generations, not only to sing or take up an instrument, but to feel respect for our cultural heritage. I am proud to see her great granddaughter honoured as well, for her international success as a music artist. Our musicians, artists and actors are showcasing the creative talent of Ulundi.
When it comes to building our community, there are many individuals who are making an outstanding contribution. We thank them for their work in the field of healthcare and conservation, in education, agriculture and cooperatives. It is wonderful to see James Nxumalo Agricultural High School voted overall winner for 2016 as the best school, because this school is combining vocational education with the standard curriculum, teaching our youth the self-reliance that comes from agriculture.
For many years I have urged South Africans to become self-reliant, to engage in subsistence farming, and to pursue education. I am therefore pleased that we honour leaders in education, as well as the best matriculant in Zululand, Ms Sibongakonke Zungu of Masibumbane High School. These are the people who inspire us. They encourage us by their example to work hard and keep going.
The reason we pursue a good education is to see our potential maximised. The people who enjoy success today are the ones who put in the effort. That is true of our medical professionals as well as our business people. Today, we honour the men and women who have founded businesses in Ulundi. Instead of moving away to seek their fortune, they planted roots within this community and their businesses are now servicing local needs. They are growing Ulundi’s economy and for that we thank them.
There is another group of people whom we honour today that I am particularly proud of. These are the individuals working as activists to support those living with disabilities. Their gift of service provides not only practical help, but also brings hope, and where hope thrives, lives are changed. To my mind, the greatest heroes are those who serve others. I believe in leading through service, and I am proud to see this principle at work in our own municipality.
Ulundi Local Municipality has excelled for years in many respects. Year after year, it receives a clean bill of health from the Auditor General, highlighting the sound financial management and strong leadership at our local municipality. It is fitting that the achievers awards include former mayors of Ulundi, some of whom are still with us and some of whom we honour in memoriam. These leaders built a legacy that we can be proud of; a legacy that our present leaders are taking forward.
Indeed the Ulundi Municipality is exceeding past achievements, to position itself as one of the best run municipalities in KwaZulu Natal. Together with the Zululand District Municipality, Ulundi Municipality was chosen as a finalist in the 2016/2017 Municipal Service Excellence Awards, bestowed by the Premier of KwaZulu Natal.
This is no small achievement. The standards are rigorous. Assessors from the Office of the Premier evaluate the performance of municipalities across the province in terms of service delivery, budget implementation, audit opinions, management of human resources, risk management and intergovernmental relations. They look at the municipality as a whole and only if it excels in all aspects can it be considered a well-functioning municipality.
Based on this assessment, Ulundi ranked among the top municipalities in the province. Moreover, Ulundi was also chosen in the category of Best Municipal Manager. While we were still celebrating, another award was bestowed on Ulundi, this time from the MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works. Ulundi Municipality won the Kamoso Award for being the most compliant municipality in the Expanded Public Works Programme for 2017.
So when we boast about our municipality, when we talk about good leadership and sound values, we are not just playing politics. The service excellence at Ulundi Municipality has been recognised by the provincial government and by the Auditor General. It has been recognised by both opponents and friends, and it has certainly been recognised by us, the people of Ulundi.
This municipality was built on a legacy created over many years by the KwaZulu Government. For almost two decades I administered KwaZulu and I laid a foundation for good governance. I ensured that corruption would never find a foothold and I held my ministers and officials to a high standard of integrity.
Those who entered governance knew that it was not a means to riches, but a calling to service. We worked hard, sacrificing our time and energy often well beyond what could reasonably be expected, because we knew that the quality of life for millions of people depended on our efforts.
That work ethic and integrity was built into the fibre of governance in Ulundi, so that even now, 23 years into democracy, Ulundi Municipality still attracts a very special kind of leader; the kind of leader who is in it to serve.
Mrs Eileen ka Nkosi Shandu and Ms Thoko Zungu, both of whom we honour today, were among our women leaders who taught the community self-help and self-reliance. We sent them and other leaders to Canada to study community savings and cooperatives at the Coady Institute of St Francis Xavier University, and when they returned they began teaching our people. They initiated communal projects like vegetables gardens, creches and sewing groups that saw countless families able to put food on the table.
That spirit of cooperation has continued to thrive. Indeed today we are celebrating the work of cooperatives and the value they bring to our community. In accordance with the Municipal Systems Act, the Integrated Development Plan and Local Economic Development programme are mandated to issue goods to community groupings each year. This year the Municipal Council has taken the decision to focus on cooperatives, supporting their success through practical assistance.
It is always good to see people helped, and to know that one’s work is making a difference. I have worked for more than six decades in the service of my people, and I am proud to see others taking up that legacy. I know that this community is full of individuals who are willing to make their contribution. Whether they are well-known, like our home-grown heroes, or quietly working behind the scenes, there are many people making a difference in Ulundi.
I want to thank each one of you. Together we are growing a healthy and prosperous city, somewhere that our children will proudly call home. I have no doubt that the next generation will make their mark in Ulundi, and from Ulundi they will make their mark on the world. So we are celebrating the best of our city today, past, present and future. May Ulundi go from strength to strength.
I thank you.