Speech delivered by the North West MEC for Developmental Local Government and Housing, honourable MEC Howard Yawa, during the debate of report of Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) Summit at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Debate, Cape Town
Honourable Chairperson, M J Mahlangu
Honourable Deputy Chairperson, Peggy Hollander
The Honourable Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Sydney Mufamadi
Honourable Members of Parliament
Members of Provincial Executive Councils
Honourable Chairperson of South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Councillor Amos Masondo SALGA national and provincial Executive Members
Honourable Executive Mayors, Mayors and Councillors
Ladies and gentlemen
A Senegalese author Mariama Ba in her novel So Long a Letter says: (I quote): "Women should no longer be decorative accessories, objects to be moved about, companions to be flattered or calmed with promises. Women are the nation's primary, fundamental root, from which all grows and blossoms. Women must be encouraged to take a keener interest in the destiny of the country".
Mariama Ba's sentiments and words have a universal message and are relevant to us in South Africa even today and have a particular resonance and significance, as we prepare to launch the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign later this week.
If we take her words seriously the level of violence, abuse and crime that is perpetuated against women and children would not have reached such disturbing proportions in our country. What she is saying is that unless women take their rightful role in our society, we will continue to face such violent conduct and abuse. These acts that are perpetuated against women of all ages should stop now!
Those who continue to abuse women and children in our country, are in the main, people who neither understand nor respect the rights and role of women in our society, and we must say though that they are really in the minority, as real men do not abuse women and children, nonetheless we must do everything in our power to stop them now! Such people, abusers have no place in our society!
We once again stress the message of partnerships in our struggle to fight against this scourge and we say that the success of the 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign lies in the fact that it has become a 365 Days Campaign, the 16 Days is merely a culmination of what has been a year long campaign!
This year we have seen some progress in the implementation of this campaign, especially around participation of all spheres of government. We have seen the campaign, moving from national to provincial and now firmly taking root within the local sphere of government.
The way that the 365 Days Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children has been implemented is a true expression of what we talk about when we talk about Inter-Governmental Relations. What we see through this campaign is IGR in Action! Inter-Governmental Relations are nothing more than government working together for the betterment of the lives of the people!
IGR in the main has to address these questions of women abuse and work towards eradicating gender based violence. The Intergovernmental Relations Framework calls on all of us to strengthen our efforts and resolve around the eradication of this gender based violence!
The IGR Framework Act, No 13 of 2005 is guided and informed by this perspective, to better the lives of the people, it underlines the fact that government work must be handled in an integrated and co-operative manner, in any case the majority of ordinary and poor South African people see government as one.
For ordinary people government cannot be compartmentalised, all they care about is whether service delivery takes place or not? They care about whether the basic needs that are due to them are being delivered or not? Who does that, whether it is national, provincial or local government is immaterial to them. Where a certain layer of government fails they do not point a finger at that particular sphere they see government as one as a single entity.
It is the same as well when government succeeds; they do not care about which layer of government has delivered they only see government delivery. Hence it is critical that intergovernmental relations must be strengthened at all levels. It is for this reason that the IGR Framework encourages co-operation between all spheres of government. Intergovernmental Relations concerns itself with the interaction of the different spheres of government, as per the stipulation of our constitution.
"The Constitution declares that government is comprised of national, provincial and local spheres of government, which are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated. According to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act, No 108 of 1996, Section 41 (2), an Act of Parliament must establish or provide structures and institutions to promote and facilitate Intergovernmental Relations and provide for appropriate mechanisms and procedures to facilitate settlement of intergovernmental disputes."
It is because of this Constitutional obligation that in the North West we have accelerated the strengthening of Intergovernmental Relations, within the province. We remain committed to improving the system of government and ensure that we collectively bring services to our people in a coherent and consistent manner. With regards to that, the North West Premier's Co-ordinating Council has been established and has done an excellent job by drawing the leadership across provincial and local spheres of government. This is replicated at District level by all Executive Mayors.
We have been able, within this context to deepen the thrust of forging a collective identity of interest between spheres of government by encouraging national government departments to participate and formulate as well as adopt sectoral master plans which outline goals that are to be pursued in the local spheres. Co-operative governance has been institutionalised and we have created synergistic links between the National Spatial Development Plan (NSDP), the Provincial Growth and Development Strategies (PDGS), the District Growth and Development Strategies (DGDS) and the Municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).
Since we adopted this approach significant progress has been made. This co-operative mode of governance has also helped us to identify interventions and support measures necessary to build capacity at local government level and with appropriate interventions. The issue of realignment of planning, budgeting and delivery has taken root as we work towards integrated and sustainable development.
Our intergovernmental relations system has taken root and will grow from strength to strength with time. There is no doubt that we have to ensure that our system of intergovernmental relations contributes to the challenge of the fundamental transformation of our society to be a model democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society that we fought for.
By strengthening co-operation and partnership, between all spheres of government we are underlying the fact that we are indeed a unitary state, governed by the same constitution which encourages co-operative governance as a central pillar of the South African constitutional order. Co-operation must characterise the way in which government governs and is about the whole of government working together as one, in an integrated way. This we do with a view to maximising development and ensuring that the three spheres of government tackle developmental challenges in a co-ordinated way.
Equally, our intergovernmental systems must be responsive to the broader challenges that face our society. It has to deal with challenges of women and child abuse, HIV and AIDS matters, poverty eradication, unemployment and many other challenges that we face. These matters are a cause for concern and therefore they should be discussed when we formulate our priorities.
It was as a result of the continuing need to co-operate with one another and the desire to ensure integrated governance that institutional mechanism such as the President's Co-ordinating Council, sector Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MinMECs), the Budget Council and the Budget Forum, and other structures were put in place. These structures were meant to foster interaction between all spheres of government.
The principle that integrated policy priorities should inform resource allocation,' has gradually gained momentum. The challenge, however, is about whether, or not, new regulations to remove the barriers to integrated budgeting are required? We have continued to play an important role as the provincial government in supporting our municipalities, both within Project Consolidate and the recent five year Local Government Strategic Agenda.
Our intergovernmental role has facilitated the establishment of forums and processes for the purpose of including local government in decision-making, involving the traditional leadership and organised local government which are critical role-players in our province. Depending on the performance of various municipalities and the extent to which service delivery was discharged, we exercised our regulatory role as provided for by section 155(7) of the Constitution.
We are empowered to intervene in the affairs of local government so as to protect and promote minimum standards of local government service delivery and ensure that local government fulfils its constitutional mandate. Our actions were consistent with our understanding of what intergovernmental relations mean and what our people expect from us. We intervened at local governments where service delivery was under threat in namely; Lekwa, Teemane and Mamusa Local municipalities in the Bophirima District and Mafikeng Local Municipality.
We are confident that as we all get familiar with the critical importance of intergovernmental relations role, we will be in a position to work even better together in our mandate to eradicate poverty, create jobs and build a better life for all our people.
As we continue to work together in strengthening the structures and institutions of intergovernmental relations let us also ensure that the issue of women and child abuse remain at the core of that agenda and devise practical ways and means of how to combat that.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Developmental Local Government and Housing North West Provincial Government
21 November 2007