Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, SA Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Remarks on the Occasion of The United Nations and SA Government Launch of the OR Tambo District Development Model Agreement and Implementation Plan
We must accelerate initiatives to ensure that our centres are most accessible and use this opportunity to reverse the patterns of Apartheid Spatial Planning.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator Nardos Bekele-Thomas and all the heads of UN Agencies in South Africa, District Mayor for OR Tambo Cllr Sokhanyile, Speakers and Members of the District and Local Councils, Amakhosi here gathered, Directors General and Heads of Departments, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, Representatives from the private sector, Residents of OR Tambo District and the KSD Municipality, Honoured guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you for accepting the invitation to attend this signing ceremony and workshop, which brings to fruition our implementation partnership with all the UN Agencies operational in our country. Had it not been for COVID-19 this partnership would have been launched last year. Nonetheless, the slight delay has favoured us with the opportunity to launch our partnership as the country pauses to recall the contributions of two great South Africans. The first is Mam Charlotte Maxeke. Whom we have dedicated this year to. Very few know of her contributions and yet they surpass most men of her time. Mam Maxeke was not only the first black South African woman to hold a degree, a BSc at that, but she went to establish 2 education institutions and a church. She was the only woman, at the time, to participate in the Abathembu Royal Courts and was in attendance at the formation of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress in 1912. A true activist Mam Maxeke was also the founding president of the Bantu Women’s League, and the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICW). Mam Maxeke also led the first land and pass related protest in 1913 at the Waaihoek township just outside Bloemfontein. This led to hundreds of women being arrested. Their protest actions spanned across several years. In the end the regime backed down on the pass requirements for women for at least until 1956 when the famous march to the Union Buildings took place. Indeed, her legacy is traceable to the present. As we advance our partnership we must be inspired by her and lift her name and many other women from the footnotes of history. Another such hero is Mam Winnie Madikizela Mandela, whose matrimonial home is in this district. Four days ago, we marked three years since her departure and in her honour we have renamed the Mbizana Municipality in. Her forthrightness, honesty, determination, loving and fighting spirit is one that should serve as a guiding light to workers and residents of this District. As we undertake our day to day work we must also recall her words and fears, when she said “one of the greatest things I fear is letting down my people. I wouldn't live with that type of conscience, of having let down my people after they've been brutalized for so long”. We must also recall that she too believed in what Mam Maxeke said when she said:
- “This work is not for yourselves, kill that spirit of self and do not live above your people but live with them. If you can rise bring someone with you”. Programme Director, we believe that this partnership will aid in lifting millions of our people out of poverty. We also believe that it ought emulate and be inspired by the lives and contributions of Mam Maxeke and Mam Winnie Madikizela Mandela. For us this partnership, by virtue of its location, also carries with it the spirit of OR Tambo who once said:
- “It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation.” Consequently, the African National Congress has embarked on a path of Radical Economic Transformation. This path seeks to return the wealth of our country to the masses as anticipated by the Freedom Charter. Explaining this path in a lecture at GIBS in 2017, the then Deputy President and current President says this Radical Economic Transformation path “indicates a new phase of accelerated economic transformation to change the structure of economy… [by] placing the economy on a quantitively development path with increased employment, reduced equality and deracialisation of our economy”. He concludes that “radical economic transformation is in essence, about building a more equal society through sustained inclusive growth”. This forms a cardinal part of the second transition. We in government are therefore compelled to ensure that our state advances a cohesive, consistent, well-coordinated and well-articulated programme for the transformation of our economic landscape. It is on this basis that we embarked on the DDM. Through the DDM we are directing the private, public, traditional, religious, community, cooperatives and international sectors, in terms of investment, skills development, employment creation, and overall industrial development. We are putting practice to our mantra of Business Unusual and are acting in the context of the socio-economic state of emergency which confronts us. For us there can be no economic recovery or growth and development without detailed and localised plans. Ladies and gentlemen, the DDM is already recording progress in OR Tambo. We have allocated R2,9 billion for MIG in the 2020-2023 MTEF period. Already in OR Tambo there are: 19 water projects; 12 sanitation projects and 47 road projects. These will be complemented by 12 community projects, to the value of R173 million, which include the secondary bulk water in Mqanduli and various other Water Treatment Works, and Bio Pipelines. These projects and our aspirations require the participation and inputs of our communities, private sector and international partners. The framework provided by the partnership we enter into today is most welcome as it brings to practice our desires for improved coordination. By focusing all of us on the interrelated pillars of unlocking economic value chains, social transformation and service delivery enhancement, greater impact is guaranteed. Through this partnership we will realise our ambitions for an Inclusive, Just and Sustainable Economic Growth; whilst meeting our obligations for Climate Resilience and Sustainable Management of Resources. The planned Business Solutions Centres are a welcome addition to our collaboration as these will provide much needed business development services for micro- and small-enterprises. Our people, particularly women and youth, will have a better chance to gather information as well as access to skills, financing and capital. However, we must accelerate our initiatives to secure markets for these entities. We must also ensure that our centres are most accessible and are located closer to where our people live and trade. For far too long these opportunities have been isolated to the more urban areas of our districts and towns. We must therefore use this opportunity to reverse the patterns of Apartheid Spatial Planning. It is with this in mind we have been considering plans to develop our coastline with an emphasis on the Eastern Sea Board. This includes the untouched and pristine coastline which straddles the OR Tambo, Alfred Nzo and Ugu districts between Margate and Port St Johns. This area historically acted as a frontier of the centuries long resistances of our people against colonialism. It therefore can become the frontier for the realisation of our aspirations to build prosperous, resilient, sustainable, cohesive, connected and climate smart communities. We take this opportunity to thank the premier for his leadership and guidance, in meeting this aspiration. The establishment of a provincial team with several MECs and as well as the District and Local Mayors will go a long way to putting plans into action. As you are aware the economies of these two districts are also inter-twinned with the Ugu and Harry Gwala Districts in Kwa Zulu Natal. Therefore, we shall have to explore the matter of joint planning and implementation with that province and districts, at an appropriate time. Indeed, we have been hard at work, despite COVID-19. The pandemic also landed on our shores during a time when our economy was underperforming and recorded pedestrian growth. It therefore also negatively impacted on the performance of all municipalities. The increased poverty and unemployment further contributed to declining collections. Consequently, our municipalities are owed over R194 billion with the largest share being that which is owed by households and private businesses. Of great significance is that many have lost their lives. we take this opportunity to reextend our condolences to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Let us also thank the frontline workers, traditional leaders and community leaders who have literally placed their lives on the line to save our lives and livelihoods. Please continue to act responsibly as we have not yet won the war, we can only be all safe when we are all safe. Honoured guests, the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by what the GBVF pandemic. This second pandemic requires us to “all play our part in supporting survivors of gender based violence and respect the rights of women and children in our families and our communities”, as called upon by the president. We are therefore pleased that this partnership also prioritises a sustainable approach to tackling GBVF.
By strengthening and expanding the Thuthuzela centres we will respond to the immediate needs and ensure care and prevention. By aligning our responses to the needs of women we will also be able to align the opportunities and skills pipeline for victims and survivors of GBVF. In implementing our partnership, we must recall the words of OR Tambo who reminded us that:
- “One of the fundamental tasks that this process of national liberation confronts is the liberation of the women of our country from their triple oppression on the grounds of sex, class and colour”. This partnership will contribute to closing the Gender Gap, which ranks South Africa at 17 out of 153 nations, according to the World Economic Forum 2020 Global Gender Gap Report.
Indeed, although we have had fluctuating fortunes in the political arena with 46% of parliamentarians being women and 48,6% of ministerial posts being women, South Africa remains ranked 10 in the world in relation to political inclusion. Unfortunately, this is not a measure of consistent behaviour on the part of South Africa but a largely declining global performance in this regard. With the upcoming local government elections, we must also do more to increase the number of women leaders in local government. Currently, only one of our eight metros that is Mangaung have a female mayor in Cllr Sarah Mlamleli and only 33% of our mayors are female. According to Stats Sa close to 40% of our councillors are women and under 35% of our senior managers are women. Women participation must not be limited only to the community and political realms. We must also influence and pressure the commanders and controllers of the economy to be women inclusive. The World Economic Forum Report ranks South Africa 92 when it comes to Economic Participation and Opportunity. The report confirms the significantly high proportion of women are in unpaid work. It also highlights their underrepresentation in leadership positions of companies listed in the JSE, with only 21,4% of board members in JSE listed companies being women. The report also shows that access to finance, inheritance rights for women and girls as well as access to land and other assets are the Achilles heel of South Africa’s economy. We must ensure that we do everything in our power to ensure the total emancipation of all women. Invited guests, thanks to the contributions of our social and international partners and friends we have largely secured political emancipation with our people. The next phase of our development as a nation requires inclusive and radical economic transformation. That type of transformation requires a capable, capacitated and effective state in all its sphere, particularly at the local sphere which is the one closest to our people. We see this partnership as an important contributor as it will also marshal other partners to:
• Raise the prominence of agriculture and the oceans economy as central to our growth, • lower costs in the economy to make employment less costly and to assist poor households, • lift the rate of investment in the local economy, • improve water supply, • improve transport and logistics, • improve access to telecommunication services, and • locate the culture, heritage, tourism, and creative industries as an important foundation for our growth
Programme Director, our District Hubs remain an important administrative and coordinating centre for inputs. They will continue to take leadership from the provincial and district leadership. In order to bolster the feed-back and services to our people, we will also ramp up the work the governance cluster has been undertaking in relation to the Thusong Centres.
We believe that the district will benefit from the technical and strategic skills we have located in the hub. This partnership will also add impetus to the National House of Traditional Leaders’ Invest Rural Strategy which seeks to optimise the rural industrial structure by availing over 1.5million hectares of land. In our recent response to the SONA debate, we emphasised that “Our long term view is that every space must become a liveable, workable, smart and safe space for women. If our spaces are safe for women and children it means they are safe for everyone.” We see this partnership as an important contributor towards that vision and we thank the UN for their patience. We believe that through this and other partnerships we will be able to live up to the ideals Mam Maxeke and Mam Winnie lived and died for. We dare not fail their memory. I thank you
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Honourable Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma