Local Government Elections
Address by ANC President Jacob Zuma to the launch of the 2011 ANC Local Government Manifesto
27 February 2011
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and all ANC Officials,
Members of the National Executive Committee,
Leadership of the ANC Leagues and all ANC formations,
Leadership of the Tripartite Alliance and SANCO,
Traditional and Religious leaders,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Comrades, Compatriots and friends,
Dumelang, thobela, molweni!
We meet today to present to the masses of our people, our vision for local government, as we work towards the third local government elections. The elections provide yet another opportunity for us to work with South Africans to take forward the vision of a better life for all.
As we launch our local elections Manifesto, we formally invite all our people in every corner of the country, to once again work with us in the pursuance of the goal of uniting our people to improve the quality of life of all.
The elections come as we prepare for the centenary of the ANC, which remains the most consistent political formation in this country. Our mission remains the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
We have worked hard together in the past few years to transform our country and are proud of the way things have changed since we achieved democracy in 1994.
Together we put an end to apartheid, achieved peace and stability, made the lives of millions of our people better, developed the economy, and established a firm foundation for even faster progress. In the last ten years we have moved forward to build a strong non-racial and non-sexist democracy.
Together, we have worked hard to build democratic local government that gives communities a voice and the opportunity to be active participants in the development of areas where they live. Already, across our country, the face of our communities has changed. ANC policies have reduced poverty for millions of people.
Over two and half million houses have been built for the poor giving shelter to over ten million people. Six million households have gained access to clean water since 1994 and electricity has been connected to nearly five million homes.
In 1994, only 62% of households had access to clean drinking water, today 93% do.
In 1994, only 50% of households had access to decent sanitation, today 77% do. And municipalities have gone a long way towards eradicating the bucket toilet system in formal settlements.
In 1994, only 36% of South Africans had access to electricity – today 84% do. Today the majority of our people are provided free basic services in water and electricity.
By 2010, close to 15 million people were receiving social grants. Of those, nine point five million are children aged under 14 years, compared with just 2.4 million in 1996.
This year the Child-Support Grant will be extended to children aged under 18 years, an additional two million children. Our people can now collect their grants much closer to where they live. Our programmes have opened the doors of learning. More than eight million children at primary and secondary schools benefit from school-feeding schemes.
We have offered more opportunities for the children of the poor. Student loans are now being converted into bursaries for qualifying final-year students. Students in further education and training colleges who qualify for financial aid are now exempted from paying fees. Thousands of community development workers are bringing government services and support closer to the people.
Our communities are safer today as we aggressively intensify our campaign against crime. Crime statistics show a decrease in most crimes, including armed robberies, housebreakings and contact crimes. The murder rate, for example, has declined by 8,6% in 2010.
Through the implementation of the major infrastructure programme over the years, the ANC government has helped create jobs and protected our communities from the worst effects of the global economic crisis. In addition to meeting basic needs like water, electricity and housing, our infrastructure development programme has built and revitalised many clinics, hospitals and schools.
We have constructed more community-tarred roads, provided streetlights, sporting and recreational facilities.
Comrades and friends,
We are proud of the fact that together, we have brought democracy into our communities. Step by step the residents have gained the power to take part in the development of their own communities and to elect representatives who will promote their interests.
More women are represented in local government than ever before. Forty two percent of councillors are women, thanks to the ANC`s gender equality policy. The ANC is set to achieve 50:50 gender-equality after the 2011 local elections.Since the achievement of democracy, the ANC-led government has built a local government system which gives power to the people to make their voice heard in their communities.
They have the power to work with municipalities to make sure that national programmes happen where they live. Through the ward committees and the consultations over Integrated Development Plans, communities can hold their elected representatives accountable.
All these achievements have taken place, because the people have repeatedly heeded to the ANC’s call of working together. It is a call for not waiting for government to deliver, but for every citizen to take part in this great task of building a better life for all.
There is a lot we still have to do, and since the 2009 general election, and looking into the future, we have carried the message of ‘working together to do more’ to address the problems our country faces. And more importantly we said we needed to do things differently to ensure faster change. At the local levels this is even more important.
The ANC is best placed to carry out this next phase of transforming our cities, towns and villages, because of our values and principles, our policies and what we have learnt from our experience in government. We are better placed also because of our commitment to ensuring that each community sees itself as a partner in creating Better Communities.
Together, we can build better communities!
While we are proud of our achievements, we are fully aware that these achievements can be undermined by the continuing inequalities, which are an unwelcome legacy of our past. Much more still needs to be done.
The apartheid spatial settlements are realities that are deeply rooted in our cities, towns and villages.
We have to meaningfully de-racialise communities and overcome apartheid-era spatial development. All residents, black and white, must equally enjoy the benefits of development.
We also need to make economic transformation a reality, and create the jobs that will make households and individuals live a life of dignity. The ANC will continue to be at the forefront of that economic transformation, working with our people.
In developing this Manifesto, the ANC and its local election candidates have interacted with our communities – in thousands of community meetings and community protest actions. In our interactions, people have told us a lot about what needs to be changed in local government.
It is the daily experiences that make their attitude to local government sometimes negative. It is the unreasonably high water and light accounts due to incorrect billing.
It is the water or lights that get switched off at the most inconvenient of times, only to find that the person has actually paid the account, or power and water failures due to old infrastructure.
It is the frustration of going to a municipal office to outline one’s frustrations, only to find clerks who are too busy to care. It is the frustration of calling the municipal hotline to find nobody who is willing to assist at the end of the line. It is the frustration of never finding one’s councillor to report any difficulties or make suggestions.
While we have achieved a lot, there is clearly much more that needs to be done.
Whilst many local authorities are doing excellent work, there are some who are not performing well. We know that while many have access to housing and basic services, there is still a long waiting list for housing.
Together we must fix all these problems.
We heard people’s concerns. As the ANC government, at all levels, we share the blame for the problems our people experienced at the local levels. The ANC government, together with the people, will ensure that all ANC councillors serve those they represent and are accountable to them.
We have already tackled the nomination process for councillors with the commitment in place to find councillors who will be accountable to the communities they will serve. We are looking for councillors who are efficient and competent to carry out the very detailed task of being a representative of the ANC at Local Government level.
We have subjected our nominees to the scrutiny of communities. We are committed to ensuring that every councillor will report back in meetings to the community and explain plans, successes and challenges. To make local government work better for our communities requires strong support by both national and provincial governments.
Without eroding the powers of local government and seeking to strengthen municipalities, national and provincial government will be far more active in supporting local government. In our 2009 Manifesto, the ANC committed itself to continue working together with all South Africans around five priorities, education, health, the fight against crime and corruption, rural development and land reform as well as creating decent work.
Local government has a critical role in the implementation of those 2009 Election Manifesto priorities. It is the closest sphere of government to the people, and the first point of contact of government with communities.
In localising the priorities of the 2009 Manifesto and in meeting key challenges facing our communities, we will now:
- Build local economies to create more employment and sustainable livelihoods;
- Improve local public services and broaden access to them;
- Build more united, non-racial, integrated and safer communities;
- Ensure much more active community participation in local government; and
- Ensure more effective, accountable and clean local government, working together with national and provincial government.
The Manifesto we are presenting to the electorate is affordable, realistic and achievable. It learns from the lessons we take from our experience in government. It builds on the achievements and changes we have brought since 1994.
This Manifesto is our commitment, not promises to address these challenges.
We are committed to transforming local government to the level of government which understands the fundamentals of serving communities. National and provincial government will work shoulder to shoulder with municipalities in this major challenge.
Among the many challenges we will deal with is the fact that many municipalities, especially in the rural areas, are still struggling – lacking capacity and resources to fulfil their functions. This has led to some municipalities being unable to provide even a core of basic municipal services effectively and efficiently.
As a result the pace of local development has been uneven, and some communities have been left behind. Project Consolidate – which required national government to send in support management teams to remedy managerial failure – made a difference and brought improvements, but not enough.
Now we are taking things further. Government launched the Local Government Turnaround Strategy in December 2009. The strategy is a major initiative to consolidate and strengthen municipalities through active support from national and provincial government and effective community participation.
With a more effective cooperative governance system, in which all spheres of government work together to improve service delivery, development and democracy, we are better able to build a developmental state. To improve delivery, we have put in place a performance monitoring and evaluation system in government and Ministers have signed performance agreements.
Equal scrutiny is being extended to local government, and some ineffective councillors have been replaced in some areas. We will ensure that each municipality publishes and regularly reports on its local performance plan with targets for improvement in local services, and be expected to achieve them.
Where necessary, and informed by its monitoring mechanisms, national and provincial government will make interventions at local level to remedy weaknesses that are identified through the monitoring. We will ensure that national and provincial government provides support to municipalities lacking capacity in management, and delivery of services. We will ensure that all national and provincial programmes, which are implemented at local levels, are clearly communicated and reported to communities.
Not only has government demonstrated zero tolerance against underperformance, but it has also taken active steps to campaign against corruption in local government. Amongst the intervention, we will review tendering systems and deal with corruption systematically.
The ANC has continued with the journey we started in 1994 in transforming our cities, towns and villages and deliver a better life for all. Much has been achieved in improving people’s lives in general, beyond local government.
To do things differently economically, we need to ensure that we have an economic growth path that creates more jobs, decent work and reduces income inequalities. Government has unveiled and is implementing its New Growth Path (NGP) programme.
The NGP will require government at all levels to lead economic development, working together with communities, the private sector, and labour. We have stated that every government department, every sector and every business entity, regardless of its size must focus on job creation.
Our municipalities, guided by the NGP, and working together with communities, will need to place job creation and sustainable livelihoods at the center of their local economic programmes. As announced in the State of the Nation Address two weeks ago, the ANC Government, will now establish a Jobs Fund of nine billion rand over the next three years to finance new job-creation initiatives.
In addition, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has allocated ten billion for investment in job-creating economic activities.
These initiatives will have a direct impact in building local economies and will involve, amongst others, co-funding with municipalities. A number of initiatives were announced in the 2011 Budget Speech as well. We will accelerate our ongoing massive infrastructure development programme, through over R800- billion investment in infrastructure projects.
These are large-scale projects in energy, dams, roads, public transport and communication infrastructure.
We will embark on a massive Sihamba Sonke (walking together) programme, which will use labour intensive methods of road construction and maintenance, including a massive pothole repair programme that is already being rolled out. We will create 4,5 million work opportunities through Expanded Public Works Programme. More than one million work opportunities have already being created since the beginning of Phase 2 of the programme.
We will increase the number of youth participating in job creation, skills development and national youth service programmes organised by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). Through National Youth Service programme, the NYDA will work with municipalities to promote youth pride for the country and their communities.
We will establish rural youth brigades in literacy, environmental, HIV and AIDS education activities, as part of the Rural Youth Service Corps Programme. We will provide support for rural communities by supporting small enterprises and co-operatives with non-financial and financial means.
Municipalities will put aside a percentage of their procurement targets for local co-operatives. We will also invest in rural development and agriculture. We will create work opportunities and support domestic manufacture of components in the green economy through further installation of solar-heater geysers in new low cost houses. We will ensure that government funded vacant posts, including local government posts, are filled.
We acknowledge the challenges with regards to improving local public services and broadening access to them. Over the years, our infrastructure development programmes on road construction, electricity distribution and water supply have expanded.
However, there has been insufficient attention to the maintenance and refurbishment of existing and new infrastructure. This is what causes the frustrations of the people with regards to constant water and electricity cuts and other interruptions.
To protect and improve our local public services, the ANC government, together with the people, will ensure the building of municipal access roads, water infrastructure, sanitation and electricity, especially in the rural areas where many people still lack access. To improve the quality of life of our children and households, we will build child-friendly municipalities over the next five years.
Working with national and provincial government, municipalities we will build early childhood development centres which promote educational component in childcare and is an important step toward lifetime learning. We must create Child and Family friendly Parks that will provide safe spaces for children and their families to engage in sporting activities and general recreation.
We will enforce by-laws that restrict the sale of alcohol close to schools and other places frequented by children and families such as places of worship and recreational facilities. We will broaden the scope of reproductive rights and work with the communities to provide services related to, amongst others, contraception, teenage pregnancy and sanitary towels for the indigent in municipalities.
Comrades and compatriots,
Working together we will build more united, non-racial, integrated and safer communities. We acknowledge that housing for the poor tends to be located in peripheral areas and they have to travel long distances from places of work and social amenities.
This, together with the internal migration of people to urban areas, resulted in the development of segregated residential areas and poor quality housing. We must do things differently in order to realise our vision of de-racialising our residential settlements. We need to move away from simply building houses for the poor and work towards building more united, non-racial and integrated communities across our cities and towns.
This will take time and effort, but work has been on-going to ensure that new human settlements are more non-racial and involve the creation of mixed-income communities. Our programmes of public transport infrastructure such as trains, buses, roads and other infrastructure are helping to transform our cities and towns.
In the countryside, the integration of our communities, the former homelands and the ‘white country-side’, would require that we pursue land reform and build, amongst other things, agri-villages to support farm and rural dwellers and new industries.
To correct these anomalies, the ANC government, working with the people, will undertake a number of measures to build more united, non-racial, integrated and safer communities. We will release public land to provide for 400,000 housing units on “well-located land” with 30-45 minute journey to work and services, and using less than 8% of disposable income for transport in the next five years. We will upgrade informal settlements in municipalities and ensure they have security of tenure and access to basic services in the next five years.
We will empower metros and large cities to play a direct role in the provision of housing, public transport and built environment. We commit to create 80,000 – mixed income social and rental housing units in the next five years, in order to enable low-income earners to live in proximity to where they work.
Together we will strengthen the fight against crime through a number of measures. We will increase the visibility of police officials at police station levels, including focused patrolling in cities and highways. We will mobilise the community against crime through the active formation of street and village committees, in partnership with the private sector, community groups and municipalities.
Comrades and compatriots,
The success of our measures depends on more active community participation in local government. Without active community participation and empowerment, the challenge of ensuring an effective accountable and clean local government will not be realised. The ANC is committed to further strengthen the voice of communities and ensure that all ANC councillors serve those they represent and are accountable to them.
Together we must build people`s power in our communities!
The ANC government, together with the people, will further strengthen the voice of communities. We will review and strengthen the legislative framework where necessary, for Ward Committees and community participation. We will ensure that 90% of all ward committees are fully functional and better resourced in the next five years.
Ward committees will be central in mobilising communities and developing ward level development plans around key issues affecting the ward, be it cleanliness, recreation or safety. National and provincial government will provide support and resources for other forms of participatory democracy at the local level. This includes community policing forums, community safety forums, street and village committees, school governing bodies, hospital boards and clinic committees.
Furthermore, municipalities would need to strengthen their work with self-organised formations such as burial societies, stokvels, cultural groups, youth and women`s clubs and non-governmental organisations as part of the process of deepening local democracy.
Comrades and compatriots,
The ANC government, working together with the people – the communities, business and workers – has been hard at work in implementing these priorities and addressing people`s concerns.
This local election represents an opportunity for communities to use their power to take forward these priorities of ANC government. In our Manifesto we provide the details of all our plans for transforming our towns, cities and villages. Only the ANC is better placed, experienced and determined to make change more meaningful to the lives of our people.
Fellow South Africans,
I would like to emphasise to all our compatriots here and now, that the ANC remains committed to the assertion in the Freedom Charter that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.
This assertion is now immortalised in the Constitution of our country.
We remain committed to building a non-racial society where every South African woman, man and child will have a space, opportunity and a voice. The ANC is the home of all South Africans who love freedom, justice and a better life for all our people, from Thembisa to Mitchells Plain, Chatsworth to Ventersdorp.
A vote for the ANC is a vote for a united, non-racial, democratic, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. Together we must work to build better communities, regardless of colour, race or creed. Before closing let me acknowledge two special guests, comrades and friends, Joseph and Sylvia Bartlett from the Northern Cape who will be featuring on our billboards and other materials.
We thank this family for agreeing to participate so boldly in this election campaign. Fellow South Africans, the ANC humbly presents its Manifesto to you today, and makes a commitment to work with you to correct whatever difficulties we have identified together in local government.
Working together we will build better communities!
Amandla! Vote ANC!