PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
The Director of Programmes; the Reverend who lead us in the opening devotions; Amakhosi present; His Worship the Mayor of Umzinyathi District Municipality, Alderman Petros Ngubane; the Honourable Speaker and Members of the Executive; Her Worship the Mayor of Msinga Local Municipality, Councillor BP Ngcobo and Members of the Executive; Indunas; Councillors of both municipalities and members of this community.
I am honoured to be present this afternoon to witness the handing over of the Gunjana water supply scheme. Today, more than 200 people living here in Msinga are receiving the benefit of a pipeline reservoir, a pump station, and reticulation with 26 community stand pipes.
It is no exaggeration to say that lives are being changed. Water is essential to life. It is needed for so many purposes, but the most fundamental is to simply sustain life.
I want to thank the team at Umzinyathi District Municipality for having the vision to undertake these projects and for seeing them through to completion. I know that municipal governance is a fine balancing act of competing priorities, for this level of government receives the smallest portion of the State budget, despite serving the most immediate and pressing needs. Municipalities must therefore have wisdom to administer limited resources.
The biggest asset to finding that wisdom, is sound leadership. When a municipality has the right leaders at the helm, much can be achieved. Good leaders see to it that every aspect of the municipality has oversight. They watch that procurement procedures are being followed, that the finances are well managed, that staff are fulfilling their responsibilities, that councillors are reporting back to their constituents, that projects are on track and deadlines are being met, and that a vision for greater development is constantly being pursued.
It takes a team of good leaders to make a municipality work. I am proud to know that we have a good team at Umzinyathi District Municipality, and that they are working hand in hand with our team at Msinga Local Municipality, to make good governance a reality.
The Gunjana Water Supply Scheme is the result of good governance. When we open a tap and water flows out, we need to think about the millions of Rands and the months of hard work that it took to make this happen. It seems like a simple thing. But when you are dealing with a vast rural area, it is by no means easy to put in place the infrastructure to deliver basic services.
The infrastructure being handed over today will provide great assistance to this community. I hope that, in particular, it will ease the burden on our women of Msinga, who generally carry the responsibility for cooking, and taking care of our families. Easier access to drinkable water will surely have an impact on health and wellbeing, enabling families to give more time to the important task of producing food.
To my mind, food security is one of the greatest challenges we face in South Africa. With the cost of food and transport rising all the time, it has become impossible for families to buy enough to eat. We must make the land productive, growing vegetables and grains and keeping small livestock like chickens and goats. Even rabbits provide a nourishing meal with very little financial outlay.
I long to see communities becoming more self-sufficient so that no one goes hungry. I want to see children and the elderly well fed, so that they can stay healthy. And I want to see those who work and provide, being kept strong with nourishing food. Of course, water is essential in all of this.
So I encourage you today, as this water scheme is handed over, to think about ways to produce more food. Are you part of a communal vegetable garden? Can you expand your subsistence farming to produce a small excess, for donation or sale? Could you add some livestock?
The path to development and wellbeing must be walked hand in hand. Just as you need Government to provide assistance, effective governance needs your contribution as well. I want to thank you for coming out this morning to meet with your representatives and to hear about their work on this water scheme.
I encourage you to engage with your municipality, speak to your councillors, ask questions and, most importantly, always vote. Your vote ensures that the right leaders are placed at the helm to deliver good governance and serve your needs.
Today, a pressing need has been met. This is good governance in action.
I thank you.