Index Executive Mayor's address to Council
Date Added: 25 July 2013

STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR TO THE CACADU DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY COUNCIL MEETING ON 10 JULY 2013

Honourable Speaker, Chief Whip, Mayoral Committee Members, Councillors, Municipal Manager, Directors, Officials, members of the public and the Media, good morning and welcome to this Council meeting.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF STATE OF THE DISTRICT REPORT

After our previous Council meeting on 29 May 2013, our Budget and IDP speech was aired on four community radio stations withthe assistance of Government Communication and Information Systems.The radio interviews emphasized the financial standing of the institution and gave some details about projects that are in the pipeline for this financial year. I was also interviewed on Bay TV for a current affairs show, which was aired on the 7th of June 2013. The interview covered several issues, including the changing of the name, audit achievements and challenges we face as a District.

MEETING BETWEEN TRANSNET AND LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES

On 30 May 2013, CDM facilitated a meeting between Transnet and local municipalities to discuss the transfer of properties owned by Transnet to local municipalities. Many of these properties are being occupied by communities who are receiving no or poor services. Other properties which are vacant and being vandalized could be put to good use for municipal purposes, and Transnet is being requested to transfer all its unutilized properties to the municipalities, to bring about better utilization and management thereof which will benefit communities in the District.

The meeting was attended by five of the nine local municipalities in the District. The municipalities that were did not attend are:

Each municipality presented the challenges they are experiencing in regard to Transnet properties in their areas. The representatives from Transnet agreed that there have been delays in transferring some of the properties. They suggested that in order to expedite these matters, quarterly meetings be held and that such meetings be arranged and co-ordinated by the District Municipality.

The meeting agreed :

The challenges experienced in respect of Transnet properties have been ongoing for many years. Despite major efforts by the District Municipality, we have so far succeeded in having only one settlement, Glenconnor, transferred to the District and the houses are now owned by the residents. I trust that these latest engagements with Transnet will bear fruit to the benefit of the communities residing in the respective areas.

PREMIER'S EXCO OUTREACH 2013

We have been advised by the Office of the Premier (OTP) that the next Premier's Executive Committee Outreach to Cacadu District will take place from 25 - 27 September 2013. At a meeting held last week, the OTP outlined the proposed programme and requested that the dates be confirmed. Makana Municipality has been identified as the anchor venue for the Outreach.

Our local municipalities have been advised and requested to nominate representatives to attend District Steering Committee meetings which will be held fortnightly to prepare for the Outreach.

PROVINCIAL POLITICAL MUNIMEC MEETING 20-21 JUNE 2013

I attended the Provincial Political Munimec meeting which was held on 20 and 21 June 2013 at Fish River Sun. At the meeting, two issues in particular were of grave concern to me.

Firstly, the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs presented an overview of litigation and legal costs in municipalities. Public administration at all levels and without exception, continues to be saddled with challenges which arise out of poor levels of or lack of compliance with legislative prescripts. The Auditor-General has indicated that many municipalities have regressed in their compliance with legislation. Much of this non-compliance eventually manifests itself in litigation and resultant unnecessary expenditure in litigation costs and legal fees.

Councillors, as we all know, the cost of litigation is very high, and the amount of funds being expended on legal fees or other legal expenses by municipalities is quite alarming. In our municipality alone, legal fees are currently in the order of R146 000. Some of the figures for other municipalities in the Province which were mentioned by the Department run into millions.

This is a serious indictment on all of us in public administration. It has a negative impact on the ability of the administration to deliver on its developmental mandate. It clearly illustrates how crucial it is for municipalities to work smarter, improve compliance, and ensure that the reasons for litigation are minimized.

The Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs has embarked on strategies to assist municipalities with legal compliance and to avoid potential litigations. However, they need the co-operation of municipalities to furnish information when requested, and it is disappointing to hear that so far, this co-operation has not been forthcoming.

The second issue which is a cause for concern is the fact that many municipalities have not yet secured rollovers of conditional grants from the previous to the new financial year. The procedure and conditions for a conditional grant rollover application are articulated in National Treasury Circular 67, and these are stringently applied by National Treasury. The serious under-expenditure which has occurred in our District and local municipalities necessitates that we apply timeously and accurately for rollovers. No rollover requests will be considered if there is an Acting CFO. Submission after 31 August 2013 will be declined.

National Treasury has also made the introduction of a Procurement Plan a compliance requirement in municipalities. We in the CDM have already prepared this plan which gives a timeline for procurement in respect of each project on the SDBIP, including date of publication of tender up to signing of contract and implementation of project. This plan will go a long way towards ensuring that tender invitations are published early in the year, and will greatly improve the chances of completing projects timeously.

NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL

The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. The Festival in Grahamstown, Makana Municipality, took place this year from 27 June - 7 July 2013. It is Africa's largest and most colourful arts and culture festival and attracts people from all over the world to the Cacadu District.

The Festival is now in its 39th year. 2014 marks the 20thanniversary of South Africa’s constitutional democracy, coinciding with the 40thanniversary of the country’s oldest Arts Festival. Grahamstown is already planning a special programme for its 40thanniversary in 2014.

The CDM made a financial contribution to the Festival, and a report in this regard will be submitted to the Mayoral Committee.

INAUGURAL CACADU DISTRICT COOPERATIVE CONFERENCE AND OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT FORUM

The District Municipality hosted a District Cooperative Conference and officially launched the District Cooperative Forum on the 26th-28th June 2013 in Port Alfred, Ndlambe Local Municipality. The event was a culmination of a project commissioned by CDM in terms of which the University Of Fort Hare undertook the coordination and establishment of an appropriate mechanism/structure to support the sustainability of Cooperatives in the District. This assignment was extended to include an investigation into the business opportunities for this sector in Cacadu District Municipal area, within the context of the regional economy of the area, for the purpose of development and investment in the Cooperative Sector.

45 delegates from the 9 Local Cooperative Forums attended. The event also hosted various agencies that provide support to Cooperatives like Seda, ECDC, DTI, SARS, Department of Economic Development and Department of Social Development. Only four Local Municipalities attended namely Ikwezi, BCRM, Ndlambe and Makana LM. A full report with recommendations of the Conference will be tabled in the next Council meeting.

VISIT BY DELEGATION FROM CACADU TO JINCHENG CITY, CHINA

Councillors are aware of the partnership agreement we have with Jincheng City, China. One of the opportunities that has emerged from interactions with various delegations from Jincheng is a strong interest by them in the mohair industry. The District Municipality facilitated interactions between a business delegation from Jincheng City, China, and representatives of the mohair industry and the citrus industry in Cacadu, in April 2013.

The business delegation from Jincheng outlined certain possibilities for the business connections between the mohair industry in the Eastern Cape and business interests in Jincheng City. They raised certain areas for investigation and further discussion, including the possibility of establishing a new company to specialize in mohair carpet production. The Jincheng Municipality has now invited a delegation from Cacadu to Jincheng City to further discuss the possibilities that were raised during the meeting in April 2013. I will therefore be leading a delegation to Jincheng City, China from 27 July 2013 - 2 August 2013. The focus of this visit is to promote business connections between businesses that contribute to economic development in the District, and interested businessmen in Jincheng. Mohair South Africa and Coega Development Corporation will be part of the delegation. The Chinese have also requested information on specific tourist attractions in Cacadu that would appeal to the Chinese market. This matter is being addressed through a senior travel consultant.

RE-LAUNCH OF HIV COUNSELLING AND TESTING CAMPAIGN TO FARM WORKERS

The year 2012 marked 30 years since the first case of HIV was reported and 15 years since treatment has become a reality. International evidence shows that the poor make up the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Cacadu District has large farming areas that employ seasonal farm workers. This results in high mobility of people in and out of this area, especially around harvest time. Because of the temporary nature of this job, most of the seasonal farm workers leave their partners/wives behind. What often happens is that they find new partners, placing them at a higher risk of contracting HIV. Poor access to health care and health related information due to their remote location of work can be partly blamed, however the high incidence of poverty and low level of education makes farm workers even more vulnerable to the impact of HIV or even TB.

In an attempt to stem the significant growth of the disease, a countrywide HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign was launched by Government in 2010. Since its implementation, the HCT campaign has had a notable impact on the availability and uptake of HIV testing and treatment. Nonetheless, the epidemic continues to rob the country of the socio-economically productive section of the population and disrupt the social fabric that holds our communities together.

As such, the Cacadu District Municipality saw it fit to take the fight against HIV and AIDS to one of the most vulnerable communities in our society, the farming sector. The aim of the campaign is for farm workers to know their HIV status and to encourage them to look after their health. The campaign also ensures access to treatment, care, and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.

The launch of the programme, which is funded by GIZ, took place in Kouga Municipality on 27 June 2013. The launch was well attended by members of the farming community, who were urged to actively participate by making use of the services that are being made available to them. This is a continuous programme which is being rolled out in Kouga and Sundays River Valley, two areas where a high percentage of seasonal farm workers are employed.

CONNECT WITH CACADU

It is a matter of grave concern to me that our Connect with Cacadu project, which provides free internet and email services plus a host of other useful information to communities in 34 libraries throughout the District, is in jeopardy due to the fact that we are no longer receiving funding from the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture to maintain the system.

Maintenance costs for the 34 libraries are considerable. These comprise mainly of monthly internet costs and licence fees for the educational programme, as well as general hardware and software maintenance. There is currently no budget for such expenditure. Last year we provided an amount of R2 million from our own funds for this purpose, and it was hoped that during this period, we would be successful in our appeals to DSRAC to re-introduce their subsidy for this project. Unfortunately no funding has yet been forthcoming from DSRAC.

It would be a shame if our communities were to lose this service which has proved so popular and is so well used in the rural areas, especially by learners, who would otherwise have no access to computers and the internet.

We continue to lobby for funding from DSRAC for this project.

THANK YOU
K E KEKANA
EXECUTIVE MAYOR