The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), honourable Des van Rooyen visited The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) in the Eastern Cape Province today (20 July 2016).
The Minister’s visit to the Metro is part of the ongoing programme of CoGTA to visit provinces to check on the progress of key interventions that the department is funding as part of its efforts to improve the lives of the people. The department had an agreement with the BCMM about the support package to the municipality. This package is implemented by the department working with stakeholders on the ground through a number of programmes like the Community Works Programme (CWP), Back to Basics Programme (B2B) and other grants given to the municipality.
The Minister held a number of meetings with the leadership of the Municipality who appraised him about the progress they are making in the delivery of services within the Metro. The Minister expressed appreciation to the leadership of the Metro regarding the progress that they continue to make in the implementation of the key programmes like infrastructure and the broader plans to ensure economic development within the city.
“It is important for us to know the impact of the plans in place and how they are contributing to positively changing the lives of the communities”, said Minister van Rooyen. The Minister lauded the progress that the Municipality has made thus far in ensuring that there is better development in communities, but also emphasised that a lot of work still lies ahead and that all stakeholders should join hands to create a conducive environment for communities to live better. We should all embrace the challenge that communities face as we work towards the objectives we set ourselves within the National Development Plan (NDP). Part of the efforts to ensure thriving communities is to have an efficient and effectively functioning local government which is clearly the case in BCMM.
The Minister also had an opportunity to interact with various stakeholders, especially business representatives and other private sector role players. “It is important to harness and nurture the relationship between government and all the stakeholders in the Metro, especially business in an effort to grow the economy, provide jobs and thus also reverse the impact of poverty on communities”, said Minister van Rooyen.
The importance of stakeholders working together can never be over-emphasised, as this partnership is important for a number of positive issues including ensuring a better and improved local economy which is able to respond to the needs of communities. This, the Minister emphasised, “it should be done in line with the Growth and Development strategy adopted by the Municipality taking advantage of areas like Tourism, Oceans economy, and the partnerships amongst stakeholders.
Our main concern as government should be to ensure that our communities have access to basic services and live in an environment that allows them to have opportunities that will improve their lives. The Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is one of the most important initiatives assisting to empower communities focusing on Automotive, Aquaculture, Renewable energy and key infrastructure projects.
We encourage the city and all the stakeholders to invest in the economy in pursuance of growth and development which will assist in fighting unemployment and eradicating poverty. The Minister also made an undertaking to engage other stakeholders at the national government level to assist in revitalising the municipality and igniting more growth.
In addition the Minister also visited a number of key projects like the construction of the Gonube road. The construction of this road will go a long way in improving mobility and also easing the flow of traffic to and from the city.
Inspired by the life and values of the founding father of our democracy, Minister was involved in doing well for others, especially those who are not able to do so on their own. He was involved in the cleaning campaign and painting the Houses of elderly citizens. This action of doing well for others brought smiles not only to those assisted, but to communities in general as they recognise the good work and dedication to assist the deserving amongst them.
The last activity of the day, saw the Minister attending a community meeting. The Minister urged communities to also play their part, work with government and other stakeholders to improve their lives through a sustained delivery of services. The Minister also affirmed that government will continue providing support to communities to improve their lives.
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