2021 State of the District Address by the Executive Mayor of Capricorn District Municipality, Councillor John Mpe, CDM Council Chamber
23 June 2021
Our Speaker, Honourable Mme Maite Mohale
His and Her worships, Mayors of our local municipalities;
Speakers and Chief Whips of our local municipalities
Our Honoured Traditional Leaders;
Our Ward Committee members;
Acting Municipal Manager, managers and other officials;
Representatives of various government departments, municipalities, Parastatals;
Representatives of Community Based Organisations; NGOs
Honourable Madam Speaker, allow me to take this opportunity to convey my sincere, warm greetings to everyone present here today, including all residents of Capricorn District listening to these proceedings on various platforms.
On 27 October 2021 the people of Capricorn District, like the rest of the country, will be going to the polls, to once again exercise their democratic right and vote in the 5th local government elections. Their decisive vote and outcome thereof will usher in a new council term to continue delivering on the mandate of meeting the core aspirations of our people in pursuit of a better life.
We are presenting this State of the District Address today, in the year of Charlotte Maxeke – a pathfinder born in Molemole, known as the ‘mother of black freedom’ and the pride of the ruling alliance in whose memory we bow our heads and pay tribute for her political astuteness. We owe our lives today to many of the doyens of our struggle who gave up their lives for our right not only to vote, but to lead freely decent living and earnings. Through the rest of our council work, we commit ourselves in the spirit of Charlotte and other fallen martyrs of our revolution to uplift our people from dehumanizing socio-economic conditions such as poverty and social ills.
Madame Speaker, this Address concludes a 5-year trajectory of development that was traversed to improve the lives of our people in the past five years. Although there is still much to be done to meet the aspirations of our people, there is no doubt that this Council stands down in October this year with pride as we look back at the progress made since 2016.
We should therefore acknowledge with pride the labour and sweat of our staff and councillors who worked together with our partners in services delivery to change our people’s daily encounter with poverty for the better. The expertise and knowledge they showed over the years has been instrumental and critical in guiding the work of this Council.
Madam Speaker, let us however remember that the long and hard journey has only begun, for when the electorate, our people go to the polls in a few months to give us yet another mandate, they will do so with hope that we are going to work hard to change their lives for the better – free of abject poverty, disease and unemployment and attain the vision espoused in our 2040 Strategy.
Honourable Speaker, the Council has in line with the Municipal Finance Management Act and relevant Treasury budget regulations, approved a total budget of R1,1 billion for the financial year 2021/22. This budget comprises of R323m in capital expenditure and R877m for operating expenditure. This budget will address the service delivery mandate that the new council will carry in line with the Key Strategic Thrusts or KPA’s of local government including:
§ Institutional Transformation and Organisational Development,
§ Basic Services and Infrastructure Delivery,
§ Spatial Planning and Land Use
§ Local Economic Development
§ Good Governance and Public Participation
§ Financial Management and Viability;
– all which we will now go into in greater detail.
BASIC SERVICE DELIVERY
Madam Speaker, with regard to water, the Capricorn District Municipality has over the years worked with our local municipalities and Lepelle Northern Water to expedite the provision of water to fight off backlogs. We are therefore pleased that we have increased access to water to 87% of the District population. In the past five years, we spent over R1,1 billion on water projects across the district which can be broken down as follows:
§ In Blouberg, we spent R352m on water projects since 2016 to benefit 14,114 households.
§ In Molemole, we spent R156m to benefit 35,145 households.
§ In Lepelle–Nkumpi, we spent R652m on water projects which benefitted 44,168 households.
§ In addition, private sector water projects were implemented to benefit 4 villages in Blouberg
§ 192 Jojo tanks were delivered across the District to augment the supply of water and 263 water-tanker loads were delivered to schools in the fight against Covid-19.
We also performed water quality tests to ensure that water that we supply to households is clean and drinkable. Our own water quality laboratory in Mankweng (within and in partnership with the University of Limpopo) is fully functional in testing samples from our water sources in compliance with the drinking water quality Blue Drop standard. We also made significant advances to balance the construction of new water projects with maintenance of water infrastructure, which goes a long way in preventing new backlogs.
All this was achieved despite challenges of insufficient rains, lack of adequate sources, over-reliance on ground water sources and the growing demand for household water connection by new settlements. To resolve these challenges, the Municipality has committed to roll out the following projects in the new financial year –
· In Blouberg, the following water projects will be implemented for R248m at Grootpan, Sias, Longden, Ramaswikana, Kromhoek/ Makgato, Devrede, Taaibosch New Stand, Milbank East, Bosehla, Thalane, Nairin Ga-Molefe, Sifihlampsana and Ga-Tshabalala, Inveraan and Nailana. This is in addition to WSIG projects that will further benefit our people in Senwabarwana, Kroemhoek, Pax, Manaka, Avon, Lesfontein and Thalane.
· In Lepelle–Nkumpi, we will spend R103m for water projects in Lebowakgomo Zone B, Mphahlele Bolatjane, Phalakwane, Makurung and Dithabaneng, Maijane, Sefalaolo, Makaepea, Sedimonthole, Moshate, Mashite, Stocks, Hwelereng, Makotse, Motantanyane, Madisha-Ditoro, Madisha-Leolo, Motserereng, Mamogwasha, Mapatjakeng, Budutolo Mathabatha and Tongwane. This is in addition to a WSIG project for Lebowakgomo.
· In Molemole, we will spend R48,6m on water projects at – Sephala, Mokopu, Thoka, Makwetja, Phasha, Sefene, Ratsaka and Rosenkrantz. This is in addition to WSIG projects for Dipateng, Mogwadi, Ratsaka and Maphosa.
· We will also be delivering and handing over 10 water tanker trucks to our local municipalities in order to battle water shortages on a temporary basis while we work on a permanent solution.
In total, for the 2021/22 financial year, we are allocating R284,5m to roll out more water projects and increase supply to communities. In addition, we are also setting aside a total of R30,7m for Operations and Maintenance of water assets which will cover the procurement of maintenance tools, refurbishment of package plants, replacement of old asbestos pipes, flow meters, major repairs of water equipment and infrastructure and for water quality.
Ladies and gentlemen, in 2016 the backlog was 41% and a number of households in backlog are using the inadequate bucket system, unimproved pit latrines or the veld to relieve themselves. This is an affront to human dignity because sanitation is dignity and therefore lack of it subjects our people to indignity.
In addition, there is a disturbing increase in inadequately designed or operated water-borne sewerage systems where the impact of failure, on the health of the community and the pollution of the environment is extremely serious. These negative impacts include the pollution of water resources, resulting in poor water quality, and the negative impact on the health and general wellbeing of our people.
This shows that sanitation goes far beyond the issue of toilets, although safe disposal of human excreta and domestic waste water is a major and necessary requirement for safe sanitation. Personal, family and cultural hygiene practices and habits are critical. If these are unsound, the upgrading of physical toilet facilities alone will not solve the problem.
It is for that reason that we doubled our efforts in the past 5 years and managed to reduce the backlog from 41% to 35%. Since 2016, we completed 952 sanitation units in Blouberg, 1,220 in Molemole, and 2,222 in Lepelle-Nkumpi – thus bringing the total to 4,394 over a 5-year period.
For the next financial year, we are setting aside R26m towards sewer and rural sanitation across the district – part of which will be used for VIP toilets in Blouberg, Molemole, Lepelle-Nkumpi, as well as waste water treatment works in Mogwadi, Molemole municipality.
In the past 5 years, Eskom and our local municipalities worked together and managed to increase access to electricity to 96% of households in our District. As settlements grow, so does the need for connection to the grid. And as the new council term commences, we will continue to work together to ensure that every household is connected to electricity by the end of 2026. To achieve this, Eskom has committed to electrify the following areas in the next financial year –
· In Blouberg, they will electrify 83 households at Devilliers ext, Bergendal ext, Wegdraai ext, Machoana ext, Pax ext.2, Slaaphoek extension 1.
· In Molemole – 230 households at Ga-Phago, Sekuruwe, Kolopo, Flora, Ga-Phaudi, Eisleben/Riverside and Manthata will be connected to the grid.
· In Polokwane – they will electrify 75 households at Tshebela Ext, Matlaleng ext and Segwashi ext.
· In Lepelle–Nkumpi – they will electrify 280 households at Rakgoatha ext, Mathibela Phase 6 and Ga-Ledwaba extension.
We are confident that these electrification projects will further reduce the 4% backlog.
Roads infrastructure and Public Transport
Madam Speaker, the district municipality worked with the Roads Agency Limpopo in identifying and planning for the upgrade of roads from gravel to tar, especially in outlying rural areas where most of the terrain is not usable and safe. However, this has proved to be a challenge and consultation is underway to propose the return of D-roads back to the District authority and reclassify them so that we can take-over from RAL to maintain and upgrade the D-roads.
We are pleased that RAL is moving with speed to finish the following projects by 2022 –
· D1589 road maintenance from Makgato-to-Devrede in Blouberg
· Upgrade of Blouberg Hospital-to-Buffelhoek Clinic road in Blouberg
· P18 Road maintenance towards Zebediela in Lepelle-Nkumpi
In road safety, we are pleased to report that –
· District Roads Master Plan was approved
· We hosted District Roads Infrastructure Summit
· We upgraded and updated Rural Roads Assets Management System.
· We coordinated more than 30 roads safety awareness campaigns for the benefit of leaners, educators, scholar patrollers, pedestrians and drivers within the district
SPATIAL PLANNING AND LAND USE
Madam Speaker, our district comes from a painful history where development was determined through discriminatory policies which isolated and excluded many of our people to outlying rural areas from the main economic development centres. This practice distorted the district spatial pattern and continue to subject many of our communities to high levels of poverty; making it difficult and complex for us to plan for land usage, growth and facilitate economic development and sustainable human settlement. However, we have done the following in the past 5 years to redress and fix our spatial outlook –
• In 2016, we established the District Municipal Planning Tribunal in accordance with the SPLUMA across the district and this is reviewed periodically.
• We developed precinct plans for Mogwadi, Botlokwa and Eldorado as part of implementing the District SDF.
• CDM is 1 of the 41 Districts municipalities to embark on Rural Roads Asset Management System.
• MEC IDP Assessment report rated Capricorn IDP high rating in the last five years.
• 2040 Growth and Development Strategy is implemented through project implementation by District, Sector departments and local municipalities.
• District has launched the District Development Model and in the process of developing spatially referenced projects. This Model ensures that planning and spending across all spheres of government is integrated, aligned and coordinated by the Districts, taking into account the interests and inputs of communities and other stakeholders. It is therefore anchored on One Plan, One Budget and One Approach.
• We also held regular Magoshi Forum to address and share land use and management plans for the allocation of residential stands for extensions and development of shopping centres in our villages, among other things. These engagements help government to also plan and integrate amenities such as schools, shops, sport grounds, clinics, recreation parks and public transport routes when village extensions are planned.
Going forward, we are allocating R1m towards spatial planning and land use programmes which include implementation of SDF and the upgrading of our Geographic Information System. This will reaffirm us as a planning theatre that will speedily shape the perfect spatial pattern for development to flourish.
We have made our bit as a district municipality since 2016 to protect the environment from human neglect. This is compounded by the reality of climate change which entrenches natural disasters with devastating effects that we have seen in other parts of the world in recent times. It is for this reason that we participated in the Greening Project which sought to urge communities to plant as many trees as possible in order to green the environment and contribute to the reduction of carbon footprints and resultant climate change. In the past 5 years –
· We planted total of 2,650 indigenous trees throughout the district.
· We rolled out the alien plant eradication project in all local municipalities, which benefitted 620 people with employment opportunities.
• Our Eco-School programme is functional with 22 schools taking part.
• We conducted 70 environmental management campaigns since 2016.
• We purchased waste management equipment for local municipalities which comprised of 30 skip bins, a waste truck, 16 recycle bins for Molemole; and further 30 skip bins, 2 skip loader trucks, 16 recycle bins for Blouberg and 30 skip Bins, 16 recycling bins for Polokwane and 45 skip bins, 16 recycle bins for Lepelle-Nkumpi.
• We constructed a total of 25 Biodigesters – which comprises of 12 Biodigesters at Makgoba village in Polokwane, 7 Biodigesters at Avon and 6 biodigesters at Indermark in Blouberg.
• We established a real-time continuous air quality monitoring station in Polokwane.
For the next financial year, we allocating R5,m for air quality monitoring, environmental training, running of landfill sites and buy more waste management equipment and towards planting 800 trees and create 100 EPWP jobs.
LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Madam Speaker, at the beginning of this term, the District identified sectors of the economy where employment creation is possible with a clear intent to fight poverty and unemployment. We placed decent work at the heart of our service delivery initiatives and this included measures such as skills enhancement, capacity building and small enterprise development. In the past 5 years, we managed to achieve the following in growing the local economy –
• We created 10 969 work opportunities.
• We hosted the Investment Summit in June 2019 which featured local and international investors.
• We capacitated 200 Community Cooperatives members in business management skills.
• SANRAL has committed to support the district in through construction of hawkers stalls at the Boyne Market Stall.
• We established the Agri-Park project in collaboration with Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
• We trained 50 bead workers on advanced beadwork and supported 71 bead workers with linkage to markets and relevant information
• We incubated 60 SMMEs in partnership with Limpopo Economic Development Agency.
• We exposed 276 SMMEs to the market and 276 jobs sustained
• We also supported 50 schools with entrepreneurship programmes
• We supported 200 learners from 22 schools in the district with programmes on Maths and Science during the Autumn Winter Break.
• We partnered with SADICO to train 200 young people in 4IR in the district
• We received National Productivity Award for best LED practices in the Province
• We also implemented the new criteria that required businesses to subcontract a minimum of 30% of the value of contract and to apply subcontracting requirement for a contract above R30m in line with the review of the Preferential Procurement regulations to economically advance designated groups. And despite relative low economic growth across all our local sectors, through various LED initiatives we still managed to sustain our district economy to remain the fast growing local economy at an annual average of 28% – thus remaining the biggest contributor to the Provincial economy.
• We signed a R9-billion mining investment partnership with Waterberg Mine that will benefit Blouberg residents with 1,100 jobs.
Taking from our Vision 2040, our approach focuses on investment promotion for all the sectors, infrastructure development, technical support to SMME’s and cooperatives as well as skills development. This will help us to propel a conducive environment for economic recovery from Covid-19. And for the next financial year, we are allocating R7,3m for Local Economic Development. Part of this allocation will be used for investment promotion, skills development, tourism promotion and support, SMME development and support.
Emergency and Disaster Management
Madam Speaker, although our emergency and disaster management centres have got reasonable capacity, we know there is a lot still to done to improve on our preparedness, risk assessment, response, mitigation, recovery, rehabilitation and post disaster development. We are pleased to report that in the past 5 years
· 2,195 disaster incidents were attended to.
· Made advances to consolidate our disaster management capacity through purchase of fire rescue vehicles as well as relief materials to mitigate the effects of disasters.
· The construction of TT Cholo fire station in Aganang cluster is now 80% complete and plans are underway to complete it by October 2021 after it was beset by some contractual delays.
For the next financial year, we are putting just about R425 000 for our operational processes of emergency and disaster management which include sourcing of relieve material.
Community services and social transformation
In the past 5 years, the district municipality has forged progressive partnerships with key role players in strategic development sectors to transform the lives of special groupings through high-impact advocacy and empowerment initiatives. We have invested in socio-economic development programmes in order to dispense adequate support for youth, women, people with disability and the elderly; and to advance moral rebirth.
We also put the education of our children at the centre of our social reform programme by working with the Department of Education to support under-privileged schools.
· We partnered with like-minded donors to donate school uniforms and stationary to learners from impoverished families.
· We also organised and hosted the District Principals Leadership Summit for principals which gave them a platform to share good practices, learn from each other in finding lasting solutions to challenges that hinder good matric performance.
· We also organised special enrichment classes for grade 12 learners in order to prepare them for their final matric examination.
· We also held education awards to reward and encourage excellence among schools in Capricorn North and South districts.
On social relief of distress, ladies and gentlemen – coronavirus derailed us at a time when many of our people are most vulnerable to hunger and inadequate water supply for daily consumption and to observe hygiene practices. This epidemic thus magnified the plight of the less fortunate and called on us to join hands. In response to the devastating effects of the virus –
· Under the guidance of the District Command Council, CDM formed partnerships with donors and humanitarian organisations to establish a Food Bank which represented a fair transparent centralised distribution of food parcels to 35 000 households with food parcels in order to cushion them against the effects of the virus as many lost jobs or income because of the lockdown.
· We donated 30liters of sanitizers, thermos-sensors and masks to schools and traditional authorities in Capricorn.
· Our municipal health staff braved the risk and went all out to monitor compliance to covid-19 regulations, especially funerals, schools and churches.
On the fight against HIV/Aids, Madam Speaker, during the term under review, we strengthened efforts of fighting infection and prevalence rates through various campaigns. This we did in partnership with many NGO’s and CBOs who equally played a role in advocating volunteerism to care for the infected and affected. More importantly, we are working with the Department of Health and Social Development to support the national action to facilitate awareness, education and prevention by encouraging our population to get tested and know their status. We will also be building capacity of our AIDS Councils to provide the much needed leadership to mount a concerted fight against HIV at individual, family, community and governance level. Hopefully this way we can one day look back and thank ourselves for taking responsibility to defend our sexuality and lives.
We also managed to embark on many campaigns to fight the scourge of Gender-Based Violence which called on men to be the torch-bearers of peace, protect their loved ones and isolate the abusers and subject them to the full might of the law.
Going forward, we are allocating R1,4m for special focus which will cover our fight against, HIV/Aids, external bursary fund, learnership, internships and experiential training for young people.
Sport, arts and culture
CDM continues to embrace the cultural diversity through celebration and commemoration of Heritage Day. It is also through sport that we can measure the happiness index of our people and that is why –
· We launched our first 4-in-1 Marathon in 2017 and successfully hosted 4 successive edition of the Marathon every year since. The marathon was made successful through partnerships with Polokwane Athletics Club and BMW.
· We also hosted Executive Mayor’s Development programs in Executive Football Championships, Executive Mayor’s Boxing Championship and Executive Mayor’s Netball Championship in order to invest in the health, vitality and productivity of participants in our District.
· We also availed monies to our Local Municipalities to assist them in upgrading stadiums across the district in order to promote access to suitable sporting facilities.
MUNICIPAL FINANCE MANAGEMENT AND VIABILITY
Financial Management and Audit
Ladies and gentlemen, in 2016, we made a promise to build adequate, competent internal capacity to perfect our financial management system. We are pleased that we managed to transition from unqualified audit in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 and eventually made history by achieving clean audit for two years in a row – 2018/19 and 2019/20.
This was not CDM’s historic achievement alone but for all local municipalities in the district. Through requisite support given to them to help them account better for water services transactions, they were also able to improve their own audit performance. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Molemole, Blouberg and Lepelle-Nkumpi local municipalities for achieving unqualified audit for the financial year 2019/20. Their improvement means that the entire district is closer to perfecting financial management systems by clearing all findings and to ultimately attain clean audit.
Madame Speaker, we also did exceptionally well in MIG spending in the past 5 years to complement our capital expenditure by planning projects and committing MIG budget to infrastructure projects on time and avoid surrendering substantial unspent monies back to National Treasury. We are also pleased that CDM was able to move a notch higher from grade 4 category to 5 – which means that CDM is financially viable and has a stronger potential to collect revenue and deliver on its mandate of a better life for all.
The challenge, however, in the past 5 years was to improve cost recovery in various revenue streams particularly in water services. Insufficient revenue collection in water sales has impacted negatively on the growth of our capital budget. We therefore managed to identify smart meters as a step towards raising more revenue, hence our resolve to improve metering and billing of water supply to consumers across the district. This intervention will enable us to encourage the culture of paying for services, collect more revenue, reduce dependence on grants and improve our budget growth.
GOOD GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Madame Speaker, our district municipality enters the new term with a well defined public participation model that puts people at the centre of development. Our engagements with our communities and other key stakeholders speak volumes about how people want their government to be. We are working tirelessly to hone our systems and give them timely feedback throughout the service delivery planning cycle.
In 2016, we launched Operation Theeletja, a listening campaign which entailed special visits to our communities, magoshi and other stakeholders with the aim of introducing the newly elected council, listen to the people and take note of their concerns. We are pleased that through this campaign, we carved a new dawn to improve public participation and accountability.
With that campaign and the District Development Model we are able to mobilise our local municipalities, the sector departments and State-owned enterprises to join us in reorganising the district into a concerted planning theatre that is inclusive of all their plans and aspirations. This we do to move away from the tendency of development that excludes our multi-sectoral cooperative governance.
In the true spirit of IGR, we are able to see every sphere of government and affected sector coming on board to play a role in working together to turn Capricorn District into a nerve centre of integrated planning coordination. In essence, this will boost critical project management capacity; improve service delivery in line with planned outputs, budgets and time-frames.
Madam Speaker, our anti-corruption strategies are still intact and we are determined to change our people’s perception of local government for the better by involving them in the fight against corruption. We are still also appealing to everyone of us to report any suspicion of fraud and misdemeanour. We shall continue to show no mercy to those who have bonds with corruption, impropriety, financial misconduct and deceit.
To continue on this path, for the 2021/22 financial year, we are allocating R754 000 towards good governance and public participation programmes.
Madam Speaker, as we tap into the new council term, we wish to take this opportunity to thank all everybody in our society for the commitment they have shown in shaping governance and service delivery initiatives.
We also take a bow to thank Maaparankwe a rena ka moka for your excellence leadership, willingness and interest in the affairs of the municipality. We know you do it in the interest of your communities at large. We hope this joint relationship can continue into the new council term as we continue with a common vision to serve our people.
We also thank all Mayors in our local municipalities for your sustained support and cooperation, ward councillors and ward committees, for working cooperatively to represent concerns and aspirations of our communities at district level. As we begin into the new term, our hope is that you shall continue to work together in providing requisite leadership to restore public confidence and trust in local government.
We also give thanks to every other stakeholder for the devotion shown in shaping the life of our IDP; and we also extend tributes to our outgoing Members of the Mayoral Committee and Councillors for your active leadership. As we are nearing the end of this 4th council term, we are humbled by your outstanding leadership and dedication to the course of a better life for all. We thank you also for marching uninterruptedly to the finish line, in the midst of uncertainties that came with political dynamics. Indeed you have left indelible marks in the course of making difference in the lives of your people.
In addition, we also appreciate the commitment and willingness of all opposition parties for their common course of serving our people. Through checks and balances in our council, robust debates and diverse opinions, we were able to put the interests of the people of Capricorn district ahead of our respective political ambitions to build a better and prosperous district. After all, we all brought together by the common objective of achieving a better life for all.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge and appreciate the African National Congress, the ruling party, for its ever-present direction and support. We wish to also take this opportunity to thank the municipal administration, inclusive of the management and staff for all the hard work and passion expended in putting together this IDP/Budget.
And we take this opportunity to urge everyone to register on 17-18 July and vote on 27 October 2021.
Re Šoma le Setšhaba!
Ke a leboga! I thank you!