Special National Conference 2012

Zuma speaks at SALGA meeting

President Jacob Zuma and South African Local Government Association Chairman Cllr Thabo Mnyoni
President Jacob Zuma and South African Local Government Association Chairman Cllr Thabo Mnyoni.jpg
President Jacob Zuma last week acknowledged and recognised the critical value brought by SALGA (albeit the challenges the sphere faces) as the voice of organised local government at SALGA’s first Special National Conference at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
The President indicated that people are impatient in wanting to reverse three centuries of underdevelopment and racist spatial planning in just a few years.
Zuma said that we have made substantial progress in improving service delivery and extending services to our people, especially the poor who were marginalised in the past. “The reality of apartheid is that large parts of the country had never had any form of local government.

“As a result, the backlogs are still glaring. Municipalities in formerly whites only areas have relatively well-developed services and infrastructure to this day, alongside under-developed townships and rural areas which were deliberately deprived of resources,” Zuma said.

According to him, Government’s vision is to create dignified human settlements for those who lived in “dehumanising conditions" before. These should be communities where residents have water, electricity, sanitation and roads, as well as recreational facilities. It must be communities filled with the laughter of happy children.

“We are far from reaching our goal of the universal delivery of such services, but we have certainly made progress. While some of the citizens are frustrated because they are still waiting for water or electricity, they would find that many more have received these services.

“Ultimately all citizens must obtain the basic services that they are entitled to. No matter how long it takes us, we will get the work done as the three spheres of government," he said.
Other high profile politicians who attended or addressed the more than 500 municipal delegates included Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Nomvula Mokonyane (the Premier of Gauteng) and Richard Baloyi (Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs).
According to a statement by SALGA’s Media Office, the Special National conference was called for by municipalities at the SALGA National Conference 2011, in order to adequately deliberate on the proposed constitutional amendments, which seek to improve SALGA’s effectiveness and internal governance.
SALGA Chairperson, Cllr Thabo Manyoni, reminded delegates that local government is about bread and butter issues and that communities need service, roads, water, sanitation and electricity.
“SALGA exists to ensure that it lobbies for municipalities to be able to provide these services”, said Manyoni. He added that people with necessary skills must be brought into local government and that the sector should not allow mediocrity to prevail in municipalities.
With the emergence of various intergovernmental structures, the political leadership of organised local government has seen the need to intensify and increase its compliment. This is to ensure appropriate recognition of SALGA as the sole representative of local government.

SALGA says the constitutional amendments are intended to increase the inclusivity and legitimacy of decision making, expand the regional and political representation of the organisation and improve governance arrangements of SALGA.
ZumaSALGA-0188b.preview.jpg President Jacob Zuma with Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) special conference in Midrand.jpg Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe addresses the South African Local Government Association special national conference in Midrand..jpg
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Issue 68