Source: The Presidency
Title: SA: Zuma: Address by the President of South Africa, at the bestowing of the Freedom of the City by the Makana Municipality on the President, Grahamstown
Eastern Cape Premier, Ms Noxolo Kiviet;
Executive Mayor of Makana municipality;
Councillor Zamuxolo Peter, Members of the Provincial Executive Council and Legislature;
Councillor Khunjuzwa Kekana, Cacadu District Mayor;
Traditional leaders present here;
I am humbled to stand here among the people of Makana Local Municipality to receive such a great honour, the Freedom of the City of Grahamstown.
No greater honour can be given by a people than to share what is most precious to them - their home, their freedom, their rights as citizens and their own town or city.
It is equally important that the municipality conferring the honour is named after an illustrious freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for his people, Makana of the AmaNdlambe people.
Like Sekhukhune, Moshoeshoe, Dingane, Bhambatha, and many other stalwarts who led the first battles against colonial encroachment in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the name Makana is inscribed in the annals of our glorious history of centuries of struggle.
It stands as a symbol of heroism, bravery and dedication.
Makana, one of the most trusted warriors of Inkosi Ndlambe, inspired and led an attack against the British garrison in Grahamstown in 1819.
After that epic battle he was incarcerated at Robben Island, and he was among the earliest generation of freedom fighters in that island.
When Makana arrived at Robben Island, he found several other political prisoners from what was known then as the Eastern Frontier.
These were men of Khoisan descent, who had from 1799 to 1803 fought against colonialism in a previous war in the area around Port Elizabeth.
To those latter generations of prisoners who also came to Robben Island, Makana represented an indomitable spirit.
To them he became known from historical accounts as a fiery and intelligent leader. The fact that he managed to escape from Robben Island was a clear illustration of his unwavering spirit of independence which could not be contained by anyone – let alone his jailers.
Even during our time in Robben Island, the name Makana reverberated with very poignant substance and reverence.
It was also adopted by a sporting body in the Island, the Makana Football Association, in which I personally participated as a player and also as a referee.
Therefore, most of us identify with Makana. We have lived and felt his pain and it is still an inspiration for us in our struggle to improve the lot of our people.
Fellow South Africans,
I am highly moved by the fact this event of conferring the freedom of the city acknowledges our humble role in the struggle for liberation.
It also acknowledges the role we played in placing our country firmly on the world map through the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup Tournament last year.
Only two days ago, on the 11th of July, we marked the first anniversary of the end of that historic soccer tournament.
The struggle for liberation and the soccer world tournament that we are being honoured for were collective efforts, in which many South Africans participated to ensure victory.
It is my honour and privilege therefore, to receive this award on behalf of all freedom loving South Africans and our friends beyond the borders of the country, who fought endlessly and heroically over many decades until freedom and democracy was achieved in 1994.
I receive the award on behalf of the patriotic and energetic South Africans who bought tickets and filled the soccer stadiums and fan parks during the soccer world cup event last year, proving wrong critics who had said the tournament in South Africa would be characterised by poor attendance and would fail.
I receive the award on behalf of the construction workers who built the 2010 world cup soccer stadia, roads and airports, the immigration, traffic and police officials, sports administrators and indeed all who made the tournament the success it was.
I thank you most heartily for this honour and privilege.
This occasion reminds us all that despite our seventeen years of hard work to improve the lives of our people, we still have to do more to provide access to basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity and refuse collection.
I am heartened by the fact that despite the challenges that we face at local government level, this municipality works to improve the lives of the people.
This municipality started receiving Municipal Infrastructure Grant funds from the 2005 financial year, with an amount of 92, 6 million rand granted over the past six years for eradication of infrastructure backlogs.
To date, about fifty projects, mainly sanitation, have been implemented at a cost of R92, 4 million.
I am informed that another achievement in the municipality is the Neighbourhood Development Grant Programme, through which R90 million was allocated for infrastructure development.
This included roads which have already been built, street lighting as well as house-hold electrification.
This project has contributed to local development including job creation.
In addition, R66 million has been allocated for bulk water services through the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
These developments will not solve all developmental or service delivery backlogs, but they lay a foundation for further work, and working together, more can be achieved.
The local government elections of May this year have provided us with renewed energy and impetus to work harder to improve the situation.
Some of the major improvements we must make include getting each municipality to involve the communities they serve in decisions affecting their lives. It involves ensuring continuous communication between municipalities and the citizens.
If people are promised certain services, when there is a delay they should be informed.
If there is water or electricity cuts, for whatever legitimate reason, people should be informed and told when this will be fixed.
In short, our citizens should be treated as valuable customers. Once we improve the customer care ethos and programmes of our municipalities, we will reduce the levels of frustration and anger.
However, no amount of frustration should justify violence and destruction of property.
While our constitution allows protest action as part of the freedoms we fought for, the violence that sometimes accompanies the protests is unacceptable.
The recent attacks of councillors and their homes in some parts of the country are shocking and are not what should be seen in a democratic society, where people have so many avenues of voicing their grievances or suggestions.
We must all support our councillors in performing their difficult tasks of serving communities.
As government we are committed to support councillors in all possible ways to enable them to perform their responsibilities better.
This includes providing training that enables them to understand their leadership role, training on legislation that guides local government, key municipal processes, developmental local government and service delivery.
We know that our people want to see change in local government, and want that to happen without delay.
We have a turnaround strategy that is being implemented in municipalities to effect change.
The plan for each municipality looks at the peculiar challenges in that area to provide most relevant solutions to the situation.
The challenges facing Makana Local Municipality for instance, will not be the same as those facing Buffalo City, Ngqushwa, or Musina in Limpopo.
Over 90% of Municipalities in the country have developed their municipal turn-around strategies which have now been integrated into their Integrated Development Plans and municipal budgets.
We also indicated during the elections that we want to build corruption free and efficiently run municipalities.
Since the launch of Operation Clean Audit 2014 in 2009, steady progress has been made in efforts to achieve clean municipal audits. This will ensure more prudent and corruption free use of state resources.
The increase in the number of municipalities who achieved clean audits from only 4 in the 2008-09 financial year, to seven in the 2009-10 financial year are a significant achievement.
Another exciting Programme which is a key component of the Local Government Turn Around Strategy is Operation Clean Cities and Towns.
In May, the Acting Minister for CoGTA, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, launched this programme in Flagstaff as a partnership between government, the private sector and local communities.
It will henceforth be rolled out throughout the country with a view to making all our cities clean, creating jobs, building safer communities, attracting investments and importantly, also building healthy environments for our communities.
We hope that this municipality will embrace it with both hands.
We have heard the sad news of the passing on of King Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile. We extend our deep-felt condolences to the royal family and the amaRharhabe people on this loss. Sithi isizwe samaRharhabe asilale ngenxeba.
Fellow South Africans,
I accept this honour conferred by the Makana Municipality with humility and knowledge that together we will live up to Makana’s spirit of service to the communities.
I thank you for this very special privilege and for the acknowledgement of one’s humble contribution to making our country a better place for all.
I would also like to acknowledge my organisation the ANC which in the main made me to be what I am today, and enabled me to make this contribution that has been acknowledged by the Makana municipality.
I wish the people of this district and municipality all the best, as they work together to create better communities.
I am also very proud that I also share this honour with my leader Madiba who was also my national volunteer -in-chief during the 1950s, my commander-in-chief in uMkhonto Wesizwe and, my President in the ANC and my first democratically elected President of our country.
You must rest assured that I will from now on frequent this town so that I can fully enjoy my freedom!
I thank you.
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