Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Ministers, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee, hon members of the committee, hon Members of Parliament, officials of the department, and ladies and gentlemen, we meet today, a day before 18 July - which is the birth date of the late first President of our democratic government, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, our one and only hero, isiThwalandwe - when South Africans will mark Nelson Mandela International Day by embarking on a clean-up campaign as per the call by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma in his state of the nation address.
Chairperson, South Africa is now one of the most populous and urbanised countries in Africa. Over the centuries urbanisation has been a source of controversy, posing dilemmas for successive governments and resulting in wide-ranging interventions to control it in various ways, such as the distinctive form of racially segregated urban development, reflecting the need of the economy for cheap migrant labour to support rapid industrialisation, which was put in place in the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, due to the demise of apartheid, these repressive controls were withdrawn, causing a recovery in the rate of urbanisation.
The pace of urbanisation has been accelerated post-1994 by the ANC-led government after the many restrictions of apartheid proved impossible to enforce. By the year 2010 almost 62% of the South African population was urban. However, not all urban areas within the country are growing at the same rate; for instance, the Gauteng city region has been growing faster in absolute and relative terms than the other large cities.
The dynamics of urbanisation are likely to have widely varying impacts in different parts of the country, as some areas experience rapid population and economic growth, while others stagnate or decline. Others may face population growth without economic growth, and, as there is the creation of subcultures through the migration of communities, serious problems are created in implementing proper budgeting processes. These dynamics cannot be managed through centralised programmes of investment in urban infrastructure.
We have seen that a greater degree of "policy agility" is required to respond to the changing conditions and demands. Therefore, local government must play a vital role in the management of public sector responses to urbanisation in this country. In order for them effectively to assume this role, their accountability for the management and financing of investment in the urban built environment, in particular, needs to be strengthened.
In ensuring that local government is strengthened, we will have to ensure that municipalities structure and manage their administration and budgeting for effective planning processes through their integrated development plans, in order to give priority to the basic needs of communities and to promote social and economic development in communities, as stipulated in the Constitution. Furthermore, all these responsibilities must be exercised taking into consideration the role of traditional leaders in the jurisdiction of all municipalities.
Chairperson, government in its wide planning; infrastructure planning; urbanisation, migration and economic planning structure; and introduction of new innovative models of planning has realised that local government still operates within an apartheid atmosphere where cities and towns are racially segregated, with the poor often living in townships kilometres away from business and industrial areas.
The creation of liveable, integrated cities, towns and rural areas means that we have to overcome the legacy of apartheid planning. It is important that spatial integration is done in a manner that will make the economy efficient, provide services and reduce costs of transport for workers in enabling development.
We have thus created mechanisms through pieces of legislation passed by this House, such as the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act and the National Housing Act, to highlight two. Such mechanisms have been created to curb the challenges faced by local government in the proper management of land use and budgeting therefor.
The ANC-led government has, through its Integrated Urban Development Framework, noticed that, with the high velocity of urbanisation, communities are faced with an increase in socioeconomic challenges and unemployment amongst the youth and women.
Therefore, as was mentioned in the President's state of the nation address, the government has undertaken to ensure the provision and maintenance of 1,5 million work opportunities at the end of the 2015-16 financial year. With that figure against our target of 1,7 million, we have created and maintained 2,5 million work opportunities through the Community Work Programme.
In moving South Africa forward we have provided technical support to selected municipalities in accordance with their needs. Three municipalities have been supported with the development of integrated waste management plans.
The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent has been supporting more than 18 identified municipalities with the acceleration of grant-funded projects such as the municipal infrastructure grant, the municipal water infrastructure grant, and the regional bulk infrastructure grant in areas of water and sanitation, roads and storm water, electricity, solid waste, housing, planning and community projects.
The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent also has 61 technical engineering and planning professionals deployed to support a total of 121 municipalities throughout the country.
Chairperson, it is our vision that in strengthening district municipalities all stakeholders should play a vital role. We therefore invite all key stakeholders, with the private sector, to participate and invest in the programmes of this government, in the creation of a sustainable economy and in ensuring that we work towards the 2030 vision as stipulated in the National Development Plan, making sure that all South Africans are granted an equal opportunity to have employment and proper living conditions.
We believe that the proposed budget by the department will help immensely in assisting local government to deal with the challenges brought about by urbanisation in this country.
Let me, on behalf of the ANC, express our condolences to all the families that have lost their loved ones in initiation schools this season, and condemn the acts of the alleged perpetrators who have been negligent with human lives. We appeal to traditional leaders, communities, parents, police, the Department of Health and all other relevant stakeholders to monitor the process of initiation closely. We appeal to the community to blow the whistle on all illegal initiation schools. We also urge that all illegal conduct should be dealt with accordingly to ensure that there is zero tolerance of the death of initiates due to negligence, lawlessness and the commercialisation of these cultural practices.
In conclusion, Chairperson, allow me to close with these words by our departed icon, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, which have been adopted by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to be its motto for the coming five years:
As freedom loving people, we want to see our country prosper and provide basic services to all. For our freedom can never be complete or our democracy stable unless the basic needs of our people are met. We have seen the stability that development brings. And in turn we know that peace is the most powerful weapon that any community or nation can have ...
This is to ensure that the White Paper on Local Government - and provisions for local government are contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa - is implemented and communities find sustainable ways to meet socioeconomic demands in order to improve the material needs and the quality of life of our people.
Lastly, the ANC supports the Budget Vote. I thank you.