Opening Remarks By The Premier Of The Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul, On The Occasion Of The Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum (Pigf) Meeting Held On 26 September 2019 In Upington

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Members of the Executive Council;
District and Local Mayors present here today,
SALGA Provincial Leadership,
Senior government officials,
Esteemed participants,
Ladies and gentlemen:

I would like to extend a warm welcome to each and everyone of you to the first meeting of the Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum (PIGF) in the Sixth Administration of our democratic government, which came into power after the May 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

The electorate gave this ANC – led Administration a clear mandate to continue along the path of growth and renewal. The President acknowledges that “Our people provided this administration with a clear mandate – to accelerate inclusive economic growth, act with greater urgency to tackle poverty, improve government services, and fight corruption as well as to end state capture. If we are to give effect to this mandate, we need a capable, efficient and ethical government. It is therefore imperative that in all areas and spheres of government, we place priority on revitalising our economy while at the same time exercising great care in the use of public funds.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is therefore clear from the Programme that is in front of all of us that the nature and character of this meeting is forward-looking and planning oriented. With your active participation, we need to reposition coordination and planning efforts to be at the centre of our development trajectory

Colleagues,

As we begin this PIGF meeting, it is important to remind ourselves of some of the defining legislation and principles that guide our intergovernmental relations agenda. The work of this forum has its firm foundation in the Constitution of the Country, namely Act 108 of 1996, which enjoins the three spheres of government to work together, assist and support each other, share information and coordinate our efforts.

Chapter 3 of the Constitution sets out principles of cooperative governance that guide the interaction of the three spheres of government. Secondly, the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act of 2005 outlines the roles of intergovernmental forums at all levels. It provides for   the Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum (PIGF)  to engage in matters of mutual interest, the implementation of national policy and legislation affecting local government interests; including matters arising in the President’s Co-ordinating Council and other national intergovernmental forums affecting local government interests in the province;

We must ensure that the principle of corporative government is not just a slogan but a reality which must govern our interaction with each other.

The PIGF is a statutory meeting of the Premier, which brings together the Premier, MEC’s, leadership of municipalities, and representatives of SALGA and Provincial and national departments to consult on matters of mutual interest to our communities that we serve. I appeal to you to strengthen all these intergovernmental forums. These forums will not by themselves produce results. National and Provincial Government and Municipalities must be willing and receptive to the idea of working together so that we can do more within the context of our limited resources.

The IGRF Act also requires all three spheres of government to provide effective, efficient, transparent, accountable and coherent governance, to advance the well-being of the people and their constitutional rights.  
Furthermore, it requires all spheres of government to effectively address the challenges of poverty eradication and development by making a concerted effort to work together and to integrate, as far possible, their actions in the provision of a comprehensive service package.
Our communities expect municipalities to use resources at their disposal to improve the quality of their lives.

Colleagues and Compatriots;
We have stated during the State of the Province Address that this administration is determined to do things differently. I had at various platforms remarked that “We needed to think out of the box and further stated that “hard-work and courage are the two key values that will define the work of the sixth administration”. This will be done across all spheres of government. In this context, one of the key pillars of the National Development Plan is the building of a capable and developmental state. We have a responsibility to ensure that our work as different spheres of government speak to each other at all times. Better coordination and planning between the three spheres of government becomes vital in our efforts of fighting and overcoming the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and equality.

We have committed ourselves to ensure that the next five years are dedicated to the work of constructing and reconstructing a province that is MODERN, GROWING and SUCCESSFUL. The challenge of meeting our people’s basic needs must continue to occupy us for the next five years and beyond. In this regard we must ensure that key development projects are given greater impetus. We must build clinics and deliver primary health care services; we need to provide water, sanitation and electricity as well as the building of houses for our people. We must transform with speed the residential areas by connecting and integrating places of work and human settlements to build an inclusive economy and sustainable human settlements. We must see acceleration in the delivery of these services.

Local Government is the sphere of government where concrete expression is given to our constitutional democracy, where social justice and the protection of human rights are guaranteed. At the centre of a municipality’s social transformation activities must be the provision of social protection to the vulnerable; in particular women and children, the eradication of poverty, and the building of social cohesion and social solidarity.

The youth are the hardest hit by unemployment. We have no choice but to respond with urgency to create job opportunities for young people, expose them to different kind of training needed by the markets. The improvement of peoples’ lives, including young people,  can be achieved through the provision of basic services, development and growth of the economy, recognising and harnessing the skills potential of people living in the municipality, job creation, and mobilising the people to make their own contribution to improve their living conditions.

Colleagues;
As the Office of the Premier, we recently convened a special Technical PIGF in Kimberley on the 02 of September 2019, with all the key stakeholders, to engage on the Medium Term Strategic Framework, Programme of Action 2019-2024, Provincial Growth and Development Plan 5 year implementation Plan, amongst others. We have all spoken with one voice and said that the imminent 2020 – 25 strategic planning processes must be guided by the outcome of that session to ensure a seamless and integrated planning implementation across all spheres of government.

The technical team members who attended the session noted that at present, our planning across the three sphere of government is characterised by diffused and bureaucratic planning responsibilities, with a plethora of structures and legislation. This results in parallel and sometimes duplicating plans and initiatives that affect policy coherence and co-ordination, and undermine effective implementation.

I therefore wish to reiterate the fact that through continued efforts to monitor progress across the various plans in government, and put in place interventions to address weaknesses, we are able to identify delivery stumbling blocks, where policy seems to be an obstacle to our objectives, and where there are other weaknesses that need to be addressed.

There is no doubt in our minds that a coherent system of planning, monitoring and evaluation will assist us to set the direction for the province, and to truly stay on course to realise our objectives. It also ensures that our policy priorities are appropriate to achieve a better life for all the citizens of the Northern Cape Province.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In his presentation of the Presidency Budget Vote to the National Assembly on 17 May 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa devoted a large part of his speech to strengthening the interface between national, provincial and local government. The President identified the “pattern of operating in silos” in government as a challenge which leads to “lack of coherence in planning and implementation” which has made monitoring and oversight of government’s programme difficult. He highlighted the fact that we should strive for the effective implementation of our seven priorities; ensure that the structures of government function with maximum coordination and cooperation as it is envisaged in our Constitution.

The President stressed that government must do things differently by indicating that we should promote economic transformation and job creation; improve education, skills and health; provide reliable and quality basic services; improve spatial integration, human settlements and local government; advance social cohesion and have safer communities, building a capable, ethical & developmental state and play our part in the realization of a better Africa and a better world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The PRESIDENTIAL COORRDINATING COMMITTEE (PCC) will be indispensable in driving the vision of a more unified government which gives full meaning to cooperative governance as set out in our constitution.

The President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) has endorsed a new district-based model for development that will synchronise planning by all spheres of government and involve citizens and civil society in the development of South Africa’s municipal districts. Let us assist and support each other, share information and coordinate our efforts in pursuit of economic growth, for service delivery, and to make good on our promises to our people.

According to President Ramaphosa “We will be increasing focus into more cross-cutting matters like local economic development so that various spheres and departments of state can account for how they are jointly creating jobs and addressing service delivery for our people at local level”. 

Similarly, the Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum and District IGR Forums must play a pivotal role to ensure the implementation of the catalytic District Coordinated Service Delivery model takes shape in the province, as well as to strengthen the interface with the leadership of provincial and local government.

It is for this reason that this meeting will receive a comprehensive presentation from the National Department of Cogta on the new District Coordinated Service delivery model.

Colleagues and Compatriots;
Municipalities are one of the priority areas of focus as various performance and audit findings demonstrated serious challenges in respect of service delivery, financial management and accountability. The Auditor-General’s (AG) opinions and concerns raised for municipalities in the 2017/18 Financial Year are of a serious nature and for the 2017/18 Financial Year, municipalities within the province achieved the following audit outcomes:

  • 1 Clean audit,
  • 10 Unqualified audit opinions with findings,
  • Qualified audit opinions,
  • 6 Disclaimers, and 2 Municipalities (Renosterberg and Phokwane) have not submitted their Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the 2017/18 Financial Year.

The province noted minimal improvement in terms of the audit outcomes, with 3 improvements noted for the Karoo Hoogland, Siyancuma and Siyathemba Municipalities and 5 regressions (Gamagara, //Kheis, Dikgatlong, Khai Ma and Kamiesberg).

To turn the performance of our local government around, it will require of us to take care of the following basic controls that, according to the AG still require attention:

  • That Leadership should create a culture of honesty, ethical business practices probity and good governance.
  • That municipalities should ensure proper record-keeping to ensure that complete, relevant and accurate information is accessible and available to support financial and performance reports.
  • The need to instil basic controls to ensure the processing of transactions in an accurate, complete and timely manner
  • The need to monitor compliance with legislation, the rules and regulations.
  • The need to fill of vacancies in critical areas such as municipal managers, chief financial officers, heads of supply chain management and chief information officers.
  • Instilling appropriate information technology controls, with emphasis on security management, user access management and business continuity.

Ladies and Gentlemen, during the State of the Province address, we also announced the convening of a local government summit towards the end of this year with the express aim of addressing the challenges that confront our municipalities. Some of the challenges identified include:

  • The sustainability and viability of our municipalities
  • Implementation of the indigent programme
  •  Improvement of service delivery infrastructure; and
  • Technical capacity

We have also noted the failure by municipalities to spend the grants allocated to them to address the social infrastructure backlogs, namely, Municipal Infrastructure grant (MIG), Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP) and Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant (NDPG). The MIG supports development and the upgrading of infrastructure to provide basic services (water, sanitation, refuse), roads and social infrastructure for poor households in all municipalities.

The Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGhsta), will soon provide us with a status report on the planning process, and progress regarding the organising of this summit so that we address some of these challenges.

In conclusion,
I am happy to report that we have just concluded a week-long programme by Members of the Northern Cape provincial delegation to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Their week-long Provincial programme started by conducting oversight visits to various projects and Municipalities in the various districts. 

The Provincial Week-long Programme under the theme: “Building sustainable, responsive and people-centred municipalities”, provided an opportunity for the NCOP provincial delegations and Members of the Provincial Legislatures to engage directly with citizens on their challenges and to gain first-hand experience of the suffering and problems which confront our communities on a daily basis. The programme further provided an opportunity for the NCOP to receive in-depth reports from government departments and municipalities on service delivery.

From the assessments that we have made thus far pointed at a very bleak picture that our policies and programmes have not made any impact on the lives of our people. Our people remain trapped in squalour conditions and abject poverty. Our municipalities are largely dysfunctional and unable to provide basic services to our communities.

Colleagues;
I am confident that our deliberations and dialogue will be informed by our own comprehensive diagnosis of the state of governance from an especially audit point of view.

I wish to urge all of you to engage with all the presentations and discussions in this meeting with vigour and honesty.

I trust that our deliberations will be fruitful, robust and enlightening and I take this opportunity to declare the sitting of this Forum opened.

I thank you

 

Northern Cape Office of the Premier
Physical address of Head Office
JW Sauer Building
Corner of Roper and Quinn Streets
Private Bag x5016
Kimberley
8300

Contact Telephone Numbers
053 8382600

Email Addresses
ZLangeveldt@ncpg.gov.za
cynthiaJoseph@ncpg.gov.za
pmathakgane@ncpg.gov.za(Ministry)
BThomas-Abrahams@ncpg.gov.za(Ministry)

 

VISION 
A prosperous province with quality of life for all. 

MISSION
Improving government’s performance through coordination, strategic leadership, and integrated planning and monitoring and evaluation.