The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), engaged communities and stakeholders on 12 May 2017 in the Free State province. This Imbizo of CoGTA is part of government’s programme to listen and respond to the needs of communities. “Our visit to the Free State is part of the process to get all stakeholders involved in the local government and traditional sectors and thus ensuring an effective and efficient delivery of services that changes the lives of communities”, said Minister van Rooyen.
This Imbizo came just few days before CoGTA tables its Budget Vote on the 18th May 2017 in the National Assembly. As part of this process, the Minister and Deputy Minister listened to communities and stakeholders giving inputs and tips ahead of the budget vote of CoGTA. Minister Des van Rooyen was joined by other principals as part of this outreach programme:
- CoGTA Deputy Minister, Obed Bapela
- CoGTA Free State MEC, Mme Sisi Ntombela
- Executive Mayor of Thabo Mofutsanyana District, Mme Malefu Vilakazi
- Acting Mayor of Maluti a Phofung Municipality, Mme Masetjhaba Mosia-Lakaje
- Speakers, of both Local and District Municipalities
- CoGTA Director-General, Dr Nwaila
- HoD CoGTA FS, Ntate Duma
- Deputy Directors-General
- Municipal Managers
The Minister indicated that the budget vote will assist CoGTA to reflect on its achievements over the past year, as well as plan for the year ahead. “As we put the final touches to our plans, we are mindful that our communities and other various stakeholders will play an important role in assisting us to understand the task that still lies ahead. Emanating from the budget vote, will be plans to ensure that we transform municipal spaces for Radical Socio-Economic development”, said Minister.
The first part of the Imbizo was a visit to the two Principal traditional leaders in Phuthaditjaba (QwaQwa). The delegation was warmly welcomed at the palaces of both traditional leaders:
- Morena e Moholo Montoedi Mota of Batlokwa, Dikgomo Morena
- Morena e Moholo Thokoana Mopeli of Bakwena, Dikgomo Morena
They opened their homes and allowed us to engage with them on issues of importance affecting the Traditional sector. Chapter 11 of the constitution binds us as a country to ensure that the dignity of the traditional sector is restored. Minister van Rooyen indicated that government acknowledges the critical role of traditional leadership institution in South Africa’s constitutional democracy and in communities, particularly in relation to the rural development strategy.
“Government remains committed to strengthening the institution of traditional leadership. Since 1994 we have passed numerous pieces of legislation, and have implemented various programmes to ensure traditional leadership makes an important contribution to the development of society”, said Minister.
The role of traditional leadership in a democracy was set in motion when the White Paper on Local Government was adopted in 1998. It established a municipal government system where traditional leaders played a role in service delivery to communities.
The Minister emphasised that traditional leaders have a pivotal role to play in this regard as the system of traditional leadership was the cornerstone of local governance for our communities during colonial and apartheid rule in South Africa. Since 1994 traditional leaders have worked with municipalities in ensuring that services are delivered to communities under their care in real time. Today these two institutions work together to transform municipal spaces for radical social and economic development.
The Minister challenged those who are saying that they don’t see the importance traditional leadership. “This is a heritage question – we are because of the sector, and we can’t exist without the traditional leadership sector as it assist to drive development at the level of communities”, said Minister.
The discussion at the two palaces were fruitful and the MEC of CoGTA in the Free State Province informed the Traditional leaders that funding has been approved for the current financial year to build palaces for them. The Provincial CoGTA and the National CoGTA committed to further engage with the two traditional leaders to address all other concerns raised.
The second part of the Imbizo was the visit to the Community Works Programme (CWP). The Public Employment Programmes, recognises the impact of the Community Work Programme on communities across the country. An important element is improving the lives of communities, which is part of the broader government strategy to eradicate poverty and provide income relief through temporary work for those willing and able to work.
This effort of giving people work opportunities is part of the broader government programme to alleviate poverty and inequality. By fighting poverty, the burden placed upon the state to provide grants to unemployed people is reduced in line with our Vision 2030. Since its inception in 2009, the CWP has grown and is been providing work opportunities and income to women, youth and disabled persons.
In Maluti A Phofung, the implementation of CWP began in 2010 and has about 2 500 participants. This programme has indeed assisted in combatting the high rate of unemployment and poverty. The stipend received by participants goes a long way in ensuring that participants are able to put food on the table.
The principals visited the centre known as the White House which provides a vital entrepreneurial outlet that supports the community through food security and sewing and knitting initiatives, amongst others. By offering communities employment opportunities, the CWP is restoring the dignity of many communities, as they work together to uplift themselves.
In his address to the community members and CWP participants, the Minister emphasised that the programme will continue to be a stepping-stone for participants to establish their own businesses, through the experience gained in the employ of CWP. Through the training that participants receive as part of CWP, many across the country are able to get permanent employment elsewhere”, said Minister van Rooyen.
The Minister has however emphasised that the training offered to CWP participants should be accredited and recognised. In addition to the normal skills development, Minister emphasised the need to provide participants with training that will assist them to run and manage their own businesses. He called on Municipalities to employ trained CWP participants in various fields. By offering employment to those trained, the programme is able to employ more community members and thus assisting to fight the triple challenges facing our country – unemployment, inequality and poverty.
Since CWP is community driven, Minister urged communities and participants to join hands, work together to ensure that this programme continues into the future, to empower communities in need, especially those seemingly forgotten, those who live far from our social networks, far from the eyes of the media. To achieve the goals we set ourselves through the implementation of CWP, Minister called for a collaborative and inclusive support by all government departments and spheres of government. Such effort will clearly demonstrate that this is indeed a government programme and not only the responsibility of one department.
“As CoGTA, we appreciate the opportunity – we came and engage with stakeholders including communities and have listened. Going forward we will surely incorporate the brilliant plans and ideas we have received during this Imbizo programme into our plans”, concluded Minister.
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