Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Ministers of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the chairperson and members of the portfolio committee, comrades, and ladies and gentlemen, I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the late Ms Nadine Gordimer, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 90, and to express condolences to her family. I'm certain that I speak on behalf of all South Africans when I say that Nadine Gordimer was an outstanding South African patriot, an intellectual par excellence, and a rare breed of South African novelist and writer. She was a seasoned activist against the unjust and evil system of apartheid. Indeed, Nadine Gordimer was an extraordinary South African, with a beautiful mind. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
The South African state in general and local government in particular have undergone a sustained period of transformation in order to reorientate and position themselves to hold the ethos and meet the demands of the democratic dispensation. This transformation was occasioned by the need to redress centuries of colonialism and decades of apartheid misrule.
South Africa has emerged from a political situation characterised by the ANC as being "colonialism of a special type", a situation where the coloniser and the colonised lived in and shared the same country as a result of the deal between the descendents of the Dutch settlers and the British imperial power at the end of the so-called Anglo Boer War. This deal, which formalised South Africa's statehood in 1910, was premised on the political oppression, social subjugation and exclusion of the majority of the people in this country.
This "colonialism of a special type" left an indelible imprint on and legacy to the South African society in general, and local government in particular, which generations to come will continue to endure.
We in the ANC have made significant strides over the past 20 years of democracy and freedom in dealing with this legacy of "colonialism of a special type". Over the past 20 years of democratic rule the ANC has massively expanded access to basic services. Some of our achievements include, but are not limited to, the following.
Firstly, in the 14 years of its existence the structure and system of local government has been set on a firm and solid foundation, after having evolved through different stages of transformation, from the pre-interim phase to the interim phase and, finally, to the consolidated phase.
Secondly, local government has been resilient in the face of a variety of daunting tasks and challenges, like the global economic recession and its impact on the domestic economy and household income, which negatively impacted on the revenue of municipalities.
Thirdly, the successful transformation of approximately 1 100 fragmented and racially based local authorities prior to 1994 evolving seamlessly into 283 new municipalities.
Fourthly, according to Statistics SA, as per its 2011 survey, the percentage of households using electricity for lighting increased from 58,2% in 1996 to 84,7% in 2011. The percentage of households with refuse removal increased from 52,1% in 1996 to 62,1% in 2011. The percentage of households with access to piped water inside the dwelling increased from 60,7% in 1996 to 73,4% in 2011. The percentage of households without toilet facilities declined significantly to 5,2% in 2011, from 13,3% in 2001. Access to sanitation increased from 83% in 2001 to 91% in 2011.
I am quoting these statistics, not to encourage complacency, but to illustrate the point with empirical evidence that the ANC government is significantly turning the tide against the monster of the legacy of "colonialism of a special type", which we admit ... [Applause.] ...