Acceptance and Inaugural Speech by the Executive Mayor of Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Councillor V. Mhlelembana, on the occasion of the 5th Inaugural Council meeting, Sinawe Conference Centre (Ward 7), Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Local Municipality, 07 December 2021
Honourable Speaker, Cllr Khulu
Rev. — & all leaders of religious formations
The Provincial & Regional leadership of the ANC
ANC leaders from other ANC regions
Leaders of all Political Parties represented in this Council
The Whip of Council
Honourable Mayors & Speakers of local municipalities
Honourable Members of Parliament (MPs and MPLs)
Fellow Councillors of Alfred Nzo District Municipality and the Alfred Nzo family of local municipalities
Former Executive Mayor, Cllr S. Mehlomakhulu
Our retired councillors
Our Traditional leaders
ANC members and compatriots
Municipal Manager and all government officials
Civil society organisations
The community of Alfred Nzo District
The Media houses
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Manifesto of the ANC for the 2021 Local government elections makes a commitment of “Building better communities together”. This commitment shall guide my service to the people of Alfred Nzo, it must be the only daily driving force for all of us as councillors.
Honourable Speaker, let me extend words of thanks to all the people of Alfred Nzo District for going out to vote on the 01st November 2021. I extend a special appreciation to all those who voted for my organisation, the ANC. They have collectively given us a responsibility to serve them, indeed to build better communities together with them. Working with our communities and like-minded partners, we must continue to build a better Alfred Nzo District for sustainable communities.
Honourable Speaker, I find it fitting to thank and congratulate the IEC for the outstanding work in managing our local government elections in an effective and professional manner. In the history of our 27 years old democratic government, we have not seen such a difficult time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You were legally forced to prepare for the most competitive and complicated electoral system in only 42 days’ time. The IEC excelled once again, the elections were overwhelmingly declared free and fair. I invite you all to give them a round of applause for the good work done. These elections, like many others, were declared as free and fair, thank you for advancing our democracy. However, we are disappointed that only 12.3 million registered voters voted on the 01 November 2021, this is only 47% of registered voters. In our district 198 123 (48, 93%) voters managed to cast their votes, to them we extend a word of thanks, Siyabulela.
Honourable Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, on your election to this high office. Your election is proof of the confidence the ANC and this Council has in your abilities and leadership. The Office of the Speaker is an essential element of our system of democratic local governance. It provides continuous link between Council and the community throughout the term of office. Therefore, the condition for the success of my office is in working closely with you Honourable Speaker and all the parties in your Municipal Council. Our success will only materialise if we operate as a collective. Councillors and officials must understand that this is not your opportunity to build personal palaces, this is an obligation to serve the public.
Ladies and gentlemen, with all the modesty, gratitude and humility that I can command. I convey to my party the African National Congress my thanks for choosing me to serve through this high office. This high office is about service to the people of Alfred Nzo. I must respectfully confirm that in the ANC it is not only about governing at all spheres of government, it is about building better communities together. I have no doubts that our success in serving the public will always depend on the guidance of the ANC. To my fellow comrades, I must warn you not to assume that our victory is for granted. You have seen the many hung municipalities and a few of them under the control of other parties. Therefore, never rest in the mistaken belief that the faith people have in our political party is unconditional. The condition is mainly one, to serve our people and not ourselves.
Ladies and gentlemen, people of Alfred Nzo, I also find it necessary to assure you that, COVID-19 can be stopped. Recently, the President told the nation about the discovery of a new Covid19 variant OMICRON. Let us collectively avoid the deadly effects of the fourth wave: Vaccinate Now! Let’s end this pandemic for good. Our lives have been disrupted in many ways, we lost family members, and we lost jobs and our economy is down. I humbly ask the people of Alfred Nzo to Vaccinate against COVID-19, put on masks, wash or sanitise our hands regularly and keep a social distance of at least 1.5 meters. At this moment of our human existence, Vaccination is the most effective weapon we have to end this pandemic. As councillors and many other community leaders, the responsibility is placed on our shoulders to change the discourse of history. Let us save our festive seasons, social and economic activities.
Honourable Speaker, I now invite all of us to stand for a moment of silence in honour of South Africans who died due to COVID-19. ——Thank you, please sit down.
Honourable Speaker, on the 01st December of each year we take stock of the advances made in our fight against the spread of another pandemic, the HIV & Aids. The recent assessment indicates worrying trends of increased infections, we cannot afford increased infections by another deadly disease. I again ask the people of our district to exercise care and avoid the spread of HIV & Aids. Let us collectively fight for the complete end to Gender based violence (GBV) that has destroyed families and our African philosophy of Ubuntu. It is also that time of the year where we see our boys going into initiation schools. We ask parents and our traditional leaders to ensure that this is done the right way. We are sad to have lost at least 2 boys in the district during this initiation season. Nathi singurhulumente sithi “Mabaye bephila, babuye bephila”.
Honourable Speaker, Council members and staff, over the next 100 days in office I shall give my undivided attention on the 5 major priorities:
- Ensuring that our service delivery commitments for this financial year are being implemented;
- Focus on performance enhancement plans that will avoid service delivery funds being taken away due to failure to use such;
- Focused oversight plans that will ensure that water schemes provide reliable clean drinking water to the people;
- Mobilising support for the Eastern Seaboard City development from Port St Johns to Margate; and
- Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations in everything we do.
Honourable Speaker, we have a duty to deliver services. We have a mandate to provide clean drinking water and decent sanitation services. Water and Sanitation services are our core functions. I am aware that the provision of these service is incremental and in accordance to our ability. It is for the above reason that I wish to broadly place before you some deliverables that must be our targets:
- Reduction of water and sanitation backlogs;
- Provision of alternative water reticulation in our remote communities;
- Developing our tourism, agriculture and manufacturing to grow our district economy;
- Establish partnerships with organised business to create an economy that creates jobs;
- Enhancing the speedy implementation of the District Development Model;
- A pledge to spare no effort in rooting out corruption and all forms of nepotism; and
- The review of institutional policies and systems for ensuring improved performance.
The Alfred Nzo Development Agency must actively ensure that it supports us to achieve our service delivery targets. More importantly, our agency must ensure that it facilitates and leads the development of our economy in order to reduce poverty and unemployment. The agency must continue to secure much needed resources for our programme of developing the youth and all other vulnerable groups of Alfred Nzo. Failure on this work means failure to build sustainable communities for us and future generations. The current level s of unemployment are just not acceptable, we must do everything in our power to create more jobs.
This Municipal Council must ensure that all the 4 local municipalities get the much needed support in their service delivery functions. The district municipality in consultation with local municipalities must develop a support plan that is based on the needs of each local municipality. In order to realise effective economies of scale, we need to collectively agree on services that we must share as the Alfred Nzo family of municipalities. We must all make a pledge that service delivery funds allocated for the people of Alfred Nzo must never be taken away by National Treasury due to poor performance.
I have every intention to serve the people of Alfred Nzo District Municipality guided by the vision: “Building better communities together”. This mandate does not give me and all our municipalities a room for failure, we must not fail.
This Council must work every day to deliver better services to you. Cooperation with all stakeholders from all sectors of life is mandatory in all that we do. This co-operation pledge is rooted in the District Development Model which outlines the way this government must work together with all stakeholders. This is a model meant to bring government spheres and organs close to each other for improved service delivery and development.
Let me emphasise this, a permanent solution to the challenges of poverty and unemployment is to achieve high and sustainable levels of economic growth. This is a none-negotiable reality for building better communities.
Honourable Speaker, in the presence of the Municipal Manager and all managers, failure to deliver services must not happen. There should be no confusion about our different roles and responsibilities. In simply terms; Councillors must make policy, give direction and play oversight. Staff members must perform their duties, staff must administer. The Municipal Manager must not accept poor performance and the absence of work ethics. Staff members who fail to justify their daily existence in the institution must be assisted with an exit strategy. Ndithi makusetyenzwe ngabasebenzi bonke!
Let me extend my sincere words of thanks to the former Executive Mayor, Cde Sixolile Mehlomakhulu for the good work done over the past 5 years. I will continue to build on the good work you have done.
Let us join hands as councillors from the ANC, EFF, ATM, and —– in building better communities together. We must get things done and get things right.
“Those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value”
We are equal to the task, let us not fail the people of Alfred Nzo!
THANK YOU, Ndiyabulela!!
CLLR. VUKILE MHLELEMBANA