MESSAGE OF SUPPORT BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Msinga: 16 May 2018
His Worship the Mayor of Umzinyathi District Municipality, Alderman Petros Mthandeni Ngubane; Amakhosi; Her Worship the Mayor of Msinga Local Municipality, Councillor BP Ngcobo; Deputy Mayor Councillor Masemola; the Honourable Speaker of Msinga; Members of the Executive of both municipalities; Indunas and Councillors; the Municipal Manager of the Umzinyathi Municipality; the Municipal Manager of the Msinga Municipality; Heads of Departments and other distinguished guests; members of this community.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to join you, as the Mayor of Umzinyathi and his team present the Integrated Development Plan and the Budget of Umzinyathi District for the year ahead. Through this Plan, supported by the Budget, the needs of communities across this District will be addressed. Msinga Municipality is close to my heart. I will never forget that during the trying election, we were left with only Msinga and Ulundi.
It is important that we understand how local governance works, and how the District Municipality assists and supports the Local Municipalities to deliver services, meet needs and pursue development. It is also important that we engage with our representatives, ask them questions and hold them accountable.
Local governance should always be a partnership between the people and their representatives. Your Councillors are here to serve. They must listen when you speak, and carry your voice into the decision-making of the municipal council. In this way, we make democracy work, ensuring that you are at the heart of everything we do, in Msinga, and throughout Umzinyathi.
This process of constant interaction between you and your representatives is vitally important. We must take advantage of moments like this, when the Mayor and his team come to visit. They are here not just to tell you about the work of the Municipality, but to invite you to become part of the development of Msinga as community activists and revolutionaries of goodwill.
I know the Mayor of Umzinyathi well, and I know that he will talk straight. Where there are problems, he will tell you about it. Where there are obstacles to service delivery, he will be honest about it. Local government is not easy. The needs of our communities are always greater than the resources available to meet them. It takes wisdom to manage municipal resources in such a way that the most pressing needs are prioritised, while tomorrow’s needs are anticipated and planned for.
The Budget being presented today has been carefully worked out and deliberated over. I believe it is has taken into account the most urgent needs across the District, prioritising the right issues, like agriculture, electrification and skills development. I also know that the team at Umzinyathi will manage this budget carefully, so that every cent achieves its goal and nothing is lost to waste or corruption.
I know this because the IFP holds our leaders to account. We will be watching the Mayor and his team. We expect them to serve with integrity, because that is the mandate you have given them, through your support for the IFP. We don’t tolerate lazy councillors or corrupt officials. Those who serve in the IFP know this. They are here to serve you.
When things do go wrong, as they do in every municipality everywhere, the leadership of the IFP won’t hesitate to step in. We will assist our delegated representatives and ensure that problems are resolved in the best interests of the people we serve.
I know that there has been a problem, for instance, at Rorke’s Drift/Shiyane with the electrification project, which was delayed by unforeseeable difficulties. We tasked the Mayor of Msinga and the Mayor of Umzinyathi with going to the community and telling you why there has been a delay and what is being done about it. It is not acceptable for the people to be left wondering what is going on. In a partnership, everyone must know where things stand, at all times.
I want to apologise on behalf of my Party for the hardship that has been endured as people wait for electricity to be connected. I have made it my life’s mission to ease the suffering of my people, and when I see families struggling even now, 24 years into democracy, with the most basic needs, it really breaks my heart.
I know that effective, efficient local governance, administered with integrity, is the best solution to the difficulties we face. But I also know that being in power in a municipality doesn’t give you a magic wand. It takes hard work and constant vigilance to ensure that local governance works. And most of all, it takes absolute commitment to serve.
As we listen today to the Mayor unpack the Integrated Development Plan for Umzinyathi, it will become clear that the Municipality is not trying to meet needs with temporary measures. The underlying principle of this IDP is that people must be empowered, rather than being kept dependent. We want to see communities uplifted and families becoming self-sufficient.
One of the ways the District Municipality is doing this is by investing in small scale farming. For years I have spoken about the need for people to grow their own food. I have encouraged communities to plant vegetable gardens and to grow enough to feed families as well as to sell, so that money can be ploughed back into farming.
We all know that our country’s economy is in crisis. There is hardly any growth at all, and this has affected everything, from job creation to the cost of food. For many families, buying enough meat and vegetables has become too expensive. People’s health is suffering, particularly the most vulnerable: our children, our old people, and those struggling with HIV/Aids, and Tuberculosis (TB).
I am therefore grateful when I hear that Umzinyathi Municipality has placed an emphasis on food security. By providing tractors and seeds, by ploughing fields, and starting community cooperatives, the Municipality is ensuring that the most basic need can be met, not just today, but tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
This should be the vision of every municipality: to empower people towards self-help and self-reliance. I encourage our Mayors to expand this work as much as possible. Whenever our municipal councils meet, the question they should ask themselves is this: how can we create a foundation today, for a stronger, safer, better tomorrow?
This is the goal of the IDP and the Budget being presented today. I thank the Mayor and his team for coming to Msinga to speak to us about it. But most importantly, I thank you, the community, for engaging with your representatives, so that together we can make things work.