Extended Public Committee Of The National Assembly
Debate On Vote 3:
Cooperative Governance And Traditional Affairs
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
Inkatha Freedom Party
Honourable House Chairperson,
Local Government has been South Africa’s bane of service delivery and a breeding ground of corruption. This must change as we fully rely on municipalities to be the wheels of service delivery. Every effort must be made to ensure that public money is spent towards the benefit of the people, especially the poor, who find life to be a virtual daily struggle.
Strong nations are built on the ability to fulfil promises and therefore responsiveness to the needs of the public must take centre stage. The reality is when communities begin to feel that they are not getting proper services from the government and feel that promises and their needs, hopes and aspirations are not being met, rightly or wrongly public and often violent protests become the order of the day as we have experienced, and if things don’t change for the better we shall continue to experience such.
This budget vote comes 91 days before South Africa heads to the polls for local government elections and therefore today is an opportune moment to reflect on the progress that has been made in the 2011-2016 municipal term of office.
Whilst many are obsessed with the tired and empty refrain of a “good story to tell”; the reality is 22 years into our freedom and democracy many South Africans continue to struggle daily and most certainly do not have a “good story to tell”. They need jobs, houses, electricity, water, and not poor service delivery and are simply fed up with the refrain of empty and un-kept promises.
The refrain I have referred to above belongs to people whose personal circumstances are “good” whilst at the same time it is very contrary to the realities on the ground of millions of South Africans struggling to make ends meet. This refrain underscores the mentality of “an island of success in a sea of poverty and corruption.”
Local government remains the Cinderella of government. It is the level of governance that receives the least in terms of budget and attention. Except perhaps now, in an election year. This year, on the 3rd of August, communities across South Africa will vote in the 2016 Local Government Elections. The spotlight is unequivocally on municipalities.
There is thus no avoiding the fact that the majority of municipalities are struggling to perform as they ought. Many are under administration and many more face financial and administrative collapse. While we have many dedicated civil servants doing their utmost to keep their municipality functioning, there are far too many corrupt and greedy cadres who are ensuring that maladministration and financial mismanagement continue to plague local government.
Traditional leadership and its institutions of governance remain at the periphery of the restructuring of South Africa’s governance model.
There is no doubt a history of long strings of broken promises that precedes the current unhappy state of cooperation between Local Government and established social structures of traditional leadership that were delivering democratic good governance long before 1994; and lead the struggle for freedom way before 1912.
The first of these broken promises was made to the Coalition of Traditional Leaders 16 years ago, by a Cabinet Committee chaired by the Honourable Mr JG Zuma, then Deputy President of the Republic. An undertaking was made, both verbally and in writing, that Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution would be amended to prevent the obliteration of the powers and functions of traditional leaders.
To date, that has never been done. Instead, through a series of piecemeal legislation, the authority, role, powers and functions of traditional leaders have been undermined and removed.
The Traditional Leadership and Khoi-San Bill which is currently before this House as presented by the Department is yet another piecemeal exercise which does not in the main address the core issues of concern which need legislative correction.
Hon M Hlengwa (MP)
076 521 3221
IFP Media, Parliament.