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SA: Fraser-Moleketi: Inaugural Community Development Workers Indaba (14/03/2008)

14th March 2008


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Date: 14/03/2008
Source: Department of Public Service and Administration
Title: SA: Fraser-Moleketi: Inaugural Community Development Workers Indaba

Address by Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Minister for Public Service and Administration, at the Inaugural Community Development Workers Indaba, Gallagher Estate, Midrand



Introductory remarks


Our President has laid a strong foundation for the Community Development Workers Master Plan as the Commander-In-Chief.

The Master Plan aims to define the terrain that the Community Development Workers (CDW) cadres occupy and details who you should collaborate with. The desired outcome of the Master Plan will be to define the parameters and mechanisms of CDW engagement with departments and agencies that are rolling out poverty eradication and economic development programmes.

It is not meant to duplicate or recreate projects and programmes, the Master Plan is meant to work transversally with departments and agencies to contribute towards meeting the targets of our overarching developmental imperatives and to help government become more responsive.

The Master Plan clarifies many areas that have, until this moment, been unclear. This is so that the value of the programme within the broader or global delivery thrust is realised.

As the President has stated, CDWs are enablers rather than implementers. The Master Plan details further the role of CDWs; it makes clear that your responsibility is to facilitate, mediate, create partnerships, network, mobilise, create linkages and empower community members to exercise their rights. This enabling role is confirmed by the two key platforms underpinning the functionality and founding strategy of the CDWP. These two platforms are:

* the access platform

* the information platform.

Much research and consultation has taken place in order to develop the CDWP Master Plan, many of you have been involved in this process. The Master Plan contains the resolutions of a broad range of stakeholders who gathered at the Master Plan Indaba, held in Pretoria as part of the Master Plan development process, in November 2007. Enshrined in the Master Plan are areas identified as "no-go zones" for the CDW cadres. You must not:

* be the secretariat for ward committees
* implement department-specific mandates and programmes, an example of this would be, you are not employed as a contractor by the Department of Housing, yours is to facilitate the process by bringing together a broad range of stakeholders
* mobilise community members for party political events and
* be politicians, and play out this role in your communities.

You should operate within the context of the Inter-governmental Relations Framework - this is so as to ensure that you promote co-operative governance. Further principles outlined in the Master Plan include:

* The CDWP should work with, and seek to stimulate or boost existing community structures.

* The CDWP should also communicate service delivery blockages to provincial and national departments. Remember you are the cadre able to navigate across the three spheres of government.

While taking these principles forward it is important to mention that this Master Plan also wants to ensure flexibility and dynamism consistent with the changing context of community needs, and of the developmental state.

Last year, Cabinet identified the five key focus areas, which are contained in the Master Plan. These focus areas are the axis of the CDWP and will enhance your ability to be effective agents of development, whilst working collectively with all relevant government departments. I will elaborate on the five Key Focus Areas (KFAs):

Key Focus Area 1: Programme Sustainability, this focus area represents the pivot and fulcrum of the Master Plan. In essence, it involves ensuring that CDWs and the CDWP are appropriately resourced and institutional arrangements are sound in order to support continuous learning and development. It will also ensure that the CDWP is geared to taking on board changing community needs and feeds into the emerging government wide Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system.

Key Focus Area 2: Strengthening (access and information) to civic services. This KFA deals with the core business of CDWs. Of particular importance is that CDWs must facilitate access and provide information about services rendered by the Department of Home Affairs (Civic Services) including IDs, passports, birth, marriage and death certificates. Of particular importance is that you must have access to information around the energy efficiency drive. The Department of Minerals and Energy will therefore become a key partner and has committed to provide a toolkit for your use. CDWs have an innate responsibility to deepen democracy through sharing information and mobilise communities for participation in electoral processes.

Key Focus Area 3: Strengthening social well being, as the grassroots champions of society you are charged with the facilitation of access and information about services rendered by the Departments of Social Development, Justice and Constitutional Development, Labour, Health, Sports and Recreation, Safety and Security and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

Key Focus Area 4: Stimulating Local Economic Development (LED). Our president has elaborated on this point. This can be achieved through the ongoing promotion of social and economic development. You need to be a point of access and a provider of information on economic support and advisory services. The Department of Trade and Industry has committed to provide all CDWs with economic starter kits. Liaison between provincial departments and agencies, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), Agriculture, Transport, Department of Minerals and Energy (DME), Public Works, National/Provincial Youth Commissions and related structures is also essential.

You must also ensure that your communities are aware of programmes such as Mafisa, spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, which promotes access to information on micro and retail agri-financial services in rural areas. Build partnerships with other sectors to mobilise communities for consumer education and assist communities in establishing co-operatives and link them with resources.

Key Focus Area 5: Public participation for service delivery improvement, this involves CDWs facilitating access and the provision of information concerning services rendered by the municipalities and Departments of Health, Education (free basic services), Housing, South African Police Service (SAPS), Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), Labour, Public Works and Communications.

The five Key Focus Areas are contained in the Master Plan will greatly assist the steering of the CDWP. It will assist us in halving unemployment and poverty by 2014, as well as achieving our Millennium Development Goals. We have now entered into the terrain of Business Unusual and will over time achieve poverty eradication.

As we unveil the Master Plan, we should recognise that it is not coincidental that we are doing so in March. As you know, the 21st of March is Human Rights day, a very significant day in our national history.

Further to this on Monday, my department launched a booklet, which is the foundation of the Know Your Service Rights campaign, which I trust you will champion. Therein bringing government services closer to the communities you live and work in.

With the launch of the CDW Master Plan, you will thus evolve from being foot soldiers of service delivery to agents of sustainable development and economic upliftment.

The three spheres of government recognise that you are the grassroots champions of development in your communities. As the CDWP develops new directions and horizons, you should continue to partner with the private sector and other agencies of social enhancement at large. Through the functioning of the Master Plan, we will function as Business Unusual, after all, we are a special cadre and we will make this work.

Thank you.

Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration
14 March 2008


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