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Source: Western Cape Provincial Government
Title: M Fransman: Conference on Western Cape Community Development
ADDRESS BY WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING,
MARIUS FRANSMAN, ON THE OCCASION OF THE CONFERENCE ON WESTERN CAPE
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORKERS, Cape Town, Civic Centre, 28 October
The Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Ebrahim Rasool,
Provincial Local Government HOD, Shanaaz Majiet,
Director General of the DPS&A, Prof Richard Levin,
Mayors and Deputies of Western Cape Councils,
Senior Managers of all spheres of government represented,
Community Development Practitioners,
Invited Leadership and Provincial CDW 'Task Team' Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I must join the Head of the Department of Local Government in
welcoming you to this very important workshop in the process of
putting in place the Community Development cadre in the
I need to also welcome the wisdom guidance especially during this
phase of the process by the Premier. It is that kind of incisive
input that helps to lessen the load for those of us who have to
trawl and bring to fruition programmes of this nature.
The United Nations in September of 2000 declared on its millennium
statement that, "We will spare no effort to free our fellow men,
women and children from abject and dehumanising conditions of
extreme poverty. We are committed to making the right to
development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human
race from want."
The same declaration makes explicit remarks to the vulnerable
groups and the emerging democracies in our continent, all
undertakings aimed at ensuring that every human being gets their
fair share of resources and opportunities to development. In
itself, this sounds good, almost revolutionary, given the world
trends and active campaigns against this sort of tendencies or
commitment even by sovereign states.
Addressing the Joint Houses of Parliament in what was termed 'The
Millennium Debate', President Thabo Mbeki referring to the sought
glory of the African continent he said, "Critical to the
achievement of this objective is the inculcation in all our minds
of the understanding that all of us? have a common objective to
bring together our resources and various strengths into the pursuit
of the common objective to achieve our own sustained socio-economic
In a direct statement prior to the announcement of the UN
millennium statement, President Thabo Mbeki raised to the Body
that, "The questions that these poor billions ask is - what
are you doing, you in whom we have placed our trust, what are you
doing to end the deliberate and savage violence against us that,
everyday, sentences many of us to a degrading and unnecessary
death! Those who stand at the gates are desperately hungry for
food, for no fault of their own. They die from preventable diseases
for no fault of their own".
It is these poor billions the world over, the millions of them
found in our country, that our efforts and attempts are easily for
the survival of humankind. The world has during the last century
especially become quite small, easier to feel the ripples and
rumbles taking place in other nation states.
We have learnt quite early in our democracy that, those
impoverished millions found in our country are rightfully impatient
and uncertain at times of whether their plight would ever be
attended to and ended permanently. It is also glaring to us that,
we might very easily miss an opportunity to deal with and pay due
attention to the psyche of all in our society.
It was against this brief background that the President in his
state of the nation address in 2003 announced that as a government
we will work towards having the sort of multi skilled persons who
will assist in making sure that government responds timely and
precisely to those issues that people need.
It is demanded of us to act swiftly and innovatively, for, in any
democratic state, the upholding of basic human rights constitutes a
fundamental corner stone in the prosperity of such democracy.
In his closing remarks to that UN Millennium Summit, President
Mbeki summed up the concerns or consequence of what could be
perceived as complacency by the well-off and unaffected leadership,
the civil service and humankind and said, "I, like the poor at our
gates, ask the question - will we, at last, respond to this appeal!
All of us, including the rich, will pay a terrible price if we do
not, practically, answer - yes, we do!"
The Non Governmental Committee on Development which addressed the
UN member states on the Summit echoed our President's remarks and
urged, "What is required now is a globalisation of conscience on
the part of those who benefit from this new system, above all on
the part of the more powerful actors of international community,
particularly in the industrialised world. If decisive action is not
taken - within a precisely defined time - ? serious threats to
international peace and security will result and may reach a state
in which they cannot be contained by political means".
Any responsible government that places to high regard the issue of
international solidarity, peace and stability is forced to do
something to mitigate against these forces from within its
As the South African government, we have done our level best in
dealing with regional peace and stability, introduced measures and
programmes in our country that seeks to end poverty.
Yet, it appears that one of the greatest challenges we face is that
of ensuring that people do not feel alienated on matters of
We must accept that we have not completed the process of creating a
new society, memories of yesteryears, memories of struggle, the
divided past and underdevelopment have not been erased.
Let us not forget that all of us in one way or another carry with
us a series of bad habits from the apartheid history. We were all
born in that society, the children of that environment.
Whilst we were able to destroy apartheid as a law, we have not been
able to wipe out with the same sense of urgency those habits from
What we require is that all of us in what ever we do, look upon our
actions as a moral necessity. It is my view that in democratic
state, the only way to learn dignity to administrative work is to
liberate it from the bureaucratic style, its constraints and
The CDW programme is but one of many programmes aimed at addressing
The modus of getting this CDW programme to be practical has since
the President's announcement been worked out and I am aware that
other provinces were quicker to move on this instruction than ours
has been able to.
In May of this year, the national Minister of Public Service and
Administration, Hon Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi announced during one
of her press briefings that already, nationally there were 495
learners enrolled on the CDW learnership programme.
Using the same figures and time frames, nationally, the CDW
learnership programme should today have in excess of 1200
This is not taking into account the Western Cape figures which in
terms of our plans will enlist at least 200 learners by February of
Over the past few months, I have been privileged to have been part
to numerous debates which sought to assess the issue of CDWs, and I
must say we have managed to sanitise any misconceptions that might
have attempted to cloud the noble intentions of this
I can state with certainty that those who have been tasked to deal
with this programme have done an excellent job in dealing with
instead of avoiding those uncomfortable questions that have been
If I could take you just a couple of steps back, the instructing
comment on this matter from President Mbeki in February of 2003
said, "we are determined to ensure that government goes to the
people so that we sharply improve the quality of the outcomes of
public expenditures intended to raise the standards of living of
our people". I may well add that it is the poorest among our people
that we must pay a targeted attention to.
President Mbeki on the same address sharply raised the reason of
why we must go the route of CDWs and said, "it is wrong that
government should oblige people to come to government even in
circumstances in which people do not know what kind of services the
government offers and have no means to pay for the transport to
reach government offices".
This programme also lends itself to necessary tensions/ potential
tensions have surfacing between civil servants (as we know it at
present), between CDWs and municipal management, potential tensions
between Ward Councillors, communities and CDWs.
All these I want to describe as necessary tensions, ours is not to
find a blue print? rather learn trough action.
A strategic question that confronts this programme is a move
towards a single caring state and a new type of civil service. In
the 10th year of our democracy, we must pose the questions:
* Were we able to teach the people, down to the humblest sections,
the art of governance and administration of the state, not only
through books, but through immediate practical application,
everywhere in the experiences of the poorest of the poor?
* Put differently, is the old state apparatus filled to the core
with routine, pen pushers, lack of decisive actions (decision
making) left still intact?
* What is the possible danger of bureaucracy becoming a special
layer, this indeed has over centuries been seen as a danger of
* Is there a danger that public and private sector workers are
trying to think that what they are doing as a specialised and
professional function, removed from the dynamics, intrigues, and
social impact issues of our people?
This programme is based on a need and knowing the politics and the
dynamics of our country and the world, we have a pool of people who
despite not being paid have marched on to render what could be
termed Samaritan support to others.
Prof Levin of DPS&SA would for instance be very much aware of
the efforts aimed at bridging this gap which have been embarked
upon in the past, these range from proclaiming the setting up of
'One Stop Service Centres', the installation of Government
Information and Technology Officers (GITOs), the Batho Pele policy,
and various other programmes which assumed the outreach approach
such as the Imbizos.
Throughout all the exploration of these endeavours, the absence of
thoroughly skilled persons who would sustain these programmes did
not seem of primary concern.
When I say not of primary concern I am not meaning that it was not
rated as important necessarily, rather, from my own point of view
there seems to have existed an assumption which took for granted
that these selfless multi skilled persons would probably be happy
operating outside government.
Through dialogue in the recent months, at times by accident, it has
become quite clear that be it that these people operate solo or are
located in other structures outside government, there is a common
objective, thus the need to work together.
It has become clear also that we must nurture and build our social
capital. For, the right human resource reserves are worth more than
your monetary ones, 'someone once said, with good people what can
you not achieve'.
Paying tribute to a batch of community development workers,
President Thabo Mbeki said whilst addressing them at the Award
Ceremony for the Community Builder of the Year in 2000, "In a
country where apartheid had sought to destroy our very humanity and
reduce people to the status of being less human, what generations
of community builders and freedom fighters have done is to assert
the nobility of each and every human being".
During the same address, he continued to state that, "As we create
a sense of common belonging, our community builders among us are
driven by a sense not of exclusion but of embrace". These community
workers are found in diverse forms.
The idea of learnership is in understanding that these people have
differing capacities, that they, until them being appointed have
been driven by interest and capability to those sectors they are
familiar with or critical to the wellbeing of their
The learnerships would seek to address that, and hone in them the
kind of a generalist skill or capacity that would allow them to
unlock the broad range of government services to the people.
Of critical importance to highlight, Programme Director, as I work
myself to the purpose of this workshop is that it is incumbent upon
all of us dealing with this programme, in this house and elsewhere
in the country to bear in mind that we are seeking and building a
means of bringing government services effectively to the
We must also be aware and guard against this cadre of people,
themselves being turned inside out by the bureaucratic machine and
the staying mentality of government or labelling them to be
pursuing political party agendas. Che Guevara, once noted that, "As
I have already said, in moments of great peril it is easy to muster
a powerful response to moral incentives. Retaining their effect,
however, requires the development of a consciousness in which there
is a new scale of values. Society as a whole must be converted into
a gigantic school".
These CDWs, for the communities they serve will be people of
unquestionable repute, trusted and readily recognised because of
their efforts and sterling achievements over the years often with
meagre resources. But, we must also endeavour to find space in this
programme to use these workers to inculcate their values
particularly to the youth as Che advised.
We must find a way to turn this opportunity into something big,
something that will change the complexion and workings of our
We must find time to think of the sustainability of the programme,
not at the theoretical level, but when more when it is being rolled
out, to candidly assess its effectiveness and sharpen our
Mayors represented here would recall both during my Policy
Statement to the Provincial Legislature and when I met them with
the Premier that the emphasis was on making sure that
municipalities aligned themselves such that people found them easy
We mentioned that the success of the policy strategies we pursue as
provincial and national government would have to find practical
expression at their level.
The theme that I took to the legislature for my Local Government
Budget Vote was:
"Development Local Government: An Opportunity to Deepen Democracy
and Enhance Service Delivery".
To my understanding this is what the programme we are meeting on is
about, seeking to deepen democracy and enhance service
The President characterised these CDW cadres on his announcement
as, "A public service echelon of multi skilled community
development workers who will maintain direct contact with the
people where these masses live".
That in my books is the deepening of government, making sure that
tentacles reached so far deep to the most vulnerable in our
The incumbent in this room in the form of yourselves is expected
therefore to assist in shaping up the CDW programme and its rollout
process in the Western Cape.
This workshop will provide you with an opportunity to be brought to
speed on the extent to which nationally the government has moved on
Experiences to be shared by those provinces who have undertaken
this initiative would help sharpen your input as experts of the
social and developmental dynamics of our province.
Admittedly, there is a whole range of people undertaking government
funded and non-funded community development work in your respective
municipal precincts, given that you cannot enrol all of them to the
programme, you must within this workshop find ways and means in
which each municipality could best benefit, encourage and direct
So, there must be some sort of a forum that will enable you to feed
and draw from your own experiences and the solutions that others
may have found for problems.
In this workshop, you must equip yourselves to be the drivers of
this programme, to popularise and advocate on its behalf, above
all, to find other creative ways of supplementing the intention so
that you can bring your municipality closer to the people. Find a
way of assessing your own institutional arrangement in terms of
their alignment in aiding the work of the CDW to be deployed
You must find candid ways, through which you will be able to take
charge of the debates on this matter. I must say it will be a sorry
state if, even one among you in councils and civil service, leave
here to campaign against the programme an perpetuate confusion
among people. It would also be a sad day if anyone of us sitting
here is still experiencing some discomfort on the issue of
In closure Programme Director, I would like to impress upon the
delegates here that all of us, the elected and the employed, have a
great deal of duty in assisting the intentions of this
This attempt of bringing government closer to the people and the
efforts of many in our societal fold who each day tirelessly work
to bring relief to the dehumanising living standards of the poor
must propel us to unite our efforts in doing something about the
mindset of others for whom such situations might not strike a
The South African state at all levels owes a lot to those who no
longer have the energy to go and solicit government support. Those
that poverty has condemned into a state where they seem to be
waiting for the inevitable, that one day, they might not wake up.
Each night when they go to sleep with hunger pangs, the next day
has only one purpose, to find food, to survive, to have some
Former President, Mr Nelson Mandela also made a clarion call to all
South African including attendees of the 1999 Community Builder of
the Year Award Ceremonies to the effect that, "We need a concerted
effort by all South Africans working together: rich and poor;
workers and employers; government, business and community
organisations, in a national crusade to speed up delivery of
services; to create jobs and end poverty; to combat crime and
corruption and to remove the effects of past discrimination".
For us to be the kind of government with the resources at our
disposal and still have scores of street children and a significant
number of our population hungry, another significant number still
illiterate, graduates who have become redundant and themselves
functionally illiterate from not doing a thing since they graduated
resonates negative growth. It is this kind of scenario as sketched
above that as municipalities we must not be content with only this
We must creatively find ways within the resources we have to do
more, realign ourselves with the intentions of this programme, to
render excellent and timely service to our people.
Many of them are on the brink of losing hope, many among them were
at the forefront of fighting for these freedoms we enjoy, yet we
have forgotten about them, or they seem to have become a burden,
the ones to be avoided, the ones to be stifled and condemned
further to a state of despair.
This kind of mentality must stop. To a great deal, it is worse than
the pernicious state of affairs we lived under, not that things
were better then, but its aggravated because we are failed by our
own. The German Philosopher Frederick Engel once noted that, "The
brutal indifference, the unfeeling isolation of each in his private
interest? the dissolution of mankind into nomads, of which each one
has a separate principle, the world of atoms, is here carried out
to its utmost extreme".
Such a state of indifference cannot be allowed to perpetuate. This
CDW programme provides us with an opportunity to do what Che
Guevara as I quoted earlier suggested, give impetus to a social
mindset change revolution.
Here is a kind of worker or person who is thrust to deal with this
enormous challenge, if we sit back and say let's see them try on
their own to overcome this challenge, then we might as well not
I am making this hearty plea to you because I am convinced we can
and must do better.
My recent visit to Cuba over the past couple of years has revealed
that we too can, drawing from the strong fundamentals of our
liberation struggle, climb out of the rut of indifference and rise
up to take the challenge of working towards our common goal, that
of poverty eradication.
All candid persons among us in this room know that challenges of
this nature are bigger than the capability of an individual, we
therefore must avail ourselves to preach and effect the underlying
intention of getting South Africa to be a nation working together,
to implore among our people that they take charge of their destiny,
to help this process and effect a turning point in the course of
our struggle to achieve a better life for all.
The Cuban model of doing things has in it many a lessons that we
can adapt to address our foremost challenges in South Africa. The
intricacies of downloading such a paradigm to the kind of state we
have require a fertile ground, a state of mind that is caring for
the good of all, not the kind of anarchism guised as robust
engagement by some opposition parties in our country.
We indeed share similar basic values with the Cuban society, viz.
social justice, equality and freedom.
The three fundamentals constitute the essence of programmes of the
Cuban government and dates to the beginning of the Revolution. In
our own land, COSATU for instance uses the slogan that "an injury
to one is an injury to all"? the Cuban poet Jose Marti penned in
his diary a phrase which preludes that of COSATU which read, "Men
has no freedom to watch impassively the slavery and dishonour of
fellow men, nor their struggles for freedom and honour".
The common denominator for all CDWs is clarity on the social,
cultural, political and the economic environment. It would require
a great deal of capacity of sacrifice and analysis which would
enable them to make meaningful contribution on all levels with
theory, practice and action.
They will be selected solely by application of the principle that
the best would come to the fore, and the best should be given the
opportunity for development, they will set themselves real concrete
tasks and will receive new experience in learning from the best
school of learning? our people.
The major concerns in this phase are the creation of a people
centred society. The type of person that we need would essentially
be human, someone who shares the pain felt by the poor in our
midst, who would rejoice on the new flag of hope, prosperity,
democracy and freedom that is raised elsewhere in the world.
It therefore would baffle me that some among us would only regard
themselves as conveyer belts or mere conduits of these good news
and intentions only, to be the managers of these special cadres and
not themselves activist and agents for change.
All of us must roll up our sleeves and be ready to donate time to
do community service, for that would be the measure of the maturity
of our own selves.
Something practical, not to reserve ourselves for the rare
privilege of debate on these matters of national and global
importance, but to also go to the ground and actively participate
in bringing about the fruits these programmes must bear.
I am looking forward to take part in some of the commission
discussions in this workshop and cannot wait for the practical
suggestions that would be the outcome of the vigorous and robust
interactions the atmosphere in this room seems to be
I thank you!
Issued by: Department of Local Government and Housing, Western Cape
28 October 2004
Source: Western Cape Provincial Government