Speaking Notes for the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Andries Nel, at the
LED Enterprise Development & Investment Seminar
11 February 2019,
Executive Mayors and Mayors
Esteemed Canadian delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for affording me the opportunity to take part and contribute on this important seminar focusing on Enterprise Development & Investment Seminar.
I congratulate you on this Building Inclusive Green Municipalities (BIGM) collaboration between SALGA and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which aims to improve the capacity of South African municipalities to support effective service delivery, inclusive local green economic growth, and enhanced climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
I have noted that the BIGM project will ensure the meaningful inclusion of women in the design and implementation of local economic development initiatives and increase their representation in decision-making processes at the local level.
Furthermore, the BIGM project will lead to more effective, innovative and inclusive local economic development within targeted South African municipalities, in particular for women and vulnerable populations; improve asset management policies and practices related to climate change adaptation and mitigation; support green economic initiatives and ensure more effective, innovative and inclusive institutional support provided to South African municipalities.
This seminar is hosted at the backdrop of the State of the Nation Address delivered by the Honorable President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa on the 7 February 2019 with stronger emphasis on Local Economic Development.
I wish to draw some linkages between the SONA and the BIGM.
The President outlined five key tasks to face government this year among those is “we must accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs”.
Therefore, through this BIGM initiative we are hoping to learn from the Canadian Experiences of how to successfully fight unemployment particularly among the youth and women.
It is also our hope that this seminar will further give us an opportunity to learn more about ways to improve local business investment climate, investment in soft infrastructure, encouraging local business growth, encouraging new enterprise and promoting inward investment.
I have noted that in the programme for the Seminar there will also be an opportunity for knowledge and good practice sharing between Canadian and South African municipalities.
Going back to the SONA, the President went further to indicate that “the levels of growth that we need to make significant gains in job creation will not be possible without massive new investment.
The inaugural South Africa Investment Conference in October last year provided great impetus to our drive to mobilise R1.2 trillion in investment over five years.
The Investment Conference attracted around R300 billion in investment pledges from South African and international companies.
There was also a significant increase in foreign direct investment last year”.
This seminar should be a contribution to strengthen the investment possibilities that exist in South Africa.
Moreover, I hope that in future the Canadian Municipalities will bring their businesses and investors to explore opportunities in the South African Municipalities.
The President’s call for stimulating local economies through investment promotion re-emphasised his inputs he made during the October 2018 National Jobs Summit, where he underscored that “Local government offers huge opportunities in the battle to stimulate economic growth.
Municipalities are at the core of promoting economic growth.
One of the most distinct areas of local government’s competence with a direct and profound impact and influence over economic growth is the effective and efficient provision of core services.
These services: reliable water and energy supply, road maintenance, refuse removal, maintenance of street lights to the satisfaction of its customers and cutting of grass at the verges of the road are what we consider necessary services offered by a functional municipality.
This is why the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affair’s Back to Basics programme is aimed at promoting functional municipalities that deliver these services seamlessly. Municipalities must also create an enabling environment for economic development through their ability to provide regulatory certainty and build public and market confidence in municipalities as places to live, work and invest”.
Therefore, LED is a key entry point for achieving the sustainable development goals, and for all local stakeholders in fighting unemployment and creating prosperous communities, which uniquely places local government to consolidate these efforts.
The BIGM programme comes when municipalities are facing new challenges namely impact of climate change, rapid urbanisation, service delivery protests, high unemployment and poverty rates to name but a few.
South Africa is a water scarce country including the very same host Nelson Mandela Metro.
It is our hope that through this initiative proactive measures could be put in place to mitigate the effects of climate change while growing the local economy.
We therefore welcome the BIGM’s intentions to strengthen the capacity of the South African municipalities and specific municipalities in Eastern Cape Province to contribute to South Africa’s priorities for reducing poverty, supporting economic growth, and responding to climate change by transitioning to a low carbon economy.
South African cities and towns have been and continue to witness increasingly rapid inflow of population migrating to these centres mainly in search of economic opportunities.
Not only do the cities attract people from rural areas within the boundaries of the country but also citizens from neighbouring countries.
As you can imagine, rapid growth in the urban population has placed immense pressure on the infrastructure and systems for delivering basic services such as housing, electricity, water, sanitation and roads.
Most urban municipalities are also struggling to meet the needs of growing urban population in terms of health services, education, cemeteries, transport and other amenities.
I hope that this seminar will offer us concrete proposals and strategies to manage urbanisation in green municipalities.
It is a fact that urbanisation has direct implications for climate change and building green municipalities.
In response to these enormous challenges, the South African government in April 2016 adopted the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF).
The IUDF is government’s policy roadmap for pursuing spatial transformation in cities and towns by guiding the development of inclusive, resilient and liveable urban settlements.
I therefore wish to invite Canadian experiences and lessons in dealing with urbanisation and climate change.
The Eastern Cape in particular where this seminar is hosted faces numerous challenges that manifest themselves in different ways. This province is particularly rural with a number of small towns, most young and talented people leave the province to seek opportunities in other provinces, therefore agriculture remains a potential yet under explored sector.
A few months ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced a stimulus package wherein he proposed a number of action points for stimulating the agricultural economy.
The emphasis was on massive job creation and the funding will be more towards the investment in agriculture.
This is aimed at supporting black commercial farmers thus increasing their entry in the food value chain, and contributing to the development of rural economy.
Furthermore, government will ensure that there are necessary resources and relevant infrastructure to achieve the objectives of the programme.
Many rural communities in the Eastern Cape have an abundance of land, which is unfortunately not adequately utilised for productive purposes.
Such land is an important asset, which can be leveraged for agricultural purposes to lift communities out of poverty.
The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is championing the implementation of the Agrarian Revolution Programme that seeks to ensure that support is provided to communities to make good use of such land through agricultural interventions, which will in turn also contribute to food security, employment creation, and improved livelihoods.
The biggest challenge is the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector more especially drought which is currently experienced by a number of District Municipalities in the Eastern Cape.
It is therefore our hope that this Seminar will help us co-create proactive strategies to stimulate the agricultural sector in the province.
These efforts are also in line with the recent pronouncements made by the President in the SONA “The potential of agriculture in South Africa for job creation and economic growth still remains largely underdeveloped.
South Africa still has large areas of underutilised or unproductive land.
There are around 250,000 small emerging farmers who are working the land and need support in fully developing their businesses.
Agricultural exports are an important source of revenue for our economy, and developing our agricultural sector is key to enhancing our food security and for attracting investment.
We are fortunate to have an agricultural sector that is well-developed, resilient and diversified.
We intend to use it as a solid foundation to help develop agriculture in our country for the benefit of all.
Through an accelerated programme of land reform, we will work to expand our agricultural output and promote economic inclusion”. We are therefore implored to join hands in the fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality through the agricultural sector as a capable vehicle.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In closing, out of this seminar I expect concrete programmes to be implemented in our municipalities that will advance our struggle against triple challenges.
It is also our hope that through this collaboration, strategies and tools will be developed and new community projects will be implemented that lead to job creation, poverty reduction, and improving the quality of life of citizens, especially women and vulnerable groups.
Indeed this collaboration will be impactful if it assists us to develop capacity on asset management policies and innovative practices that help mitigate and/or adapt to climate change, for example, green economic opportunities, mapping existing physical and ecological assets, and planning for development of green infrastructure and/or green responses to fixing aging infrastructure.
As well put by President Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
I thank you.