Tshwane is a city full of possibilities - Kedibone Mathebe

Address by COPE mayoral candidate in the municipality, April 19 2011


Members of the CNC
The Leader of our Gauteng Legislature Team, Cde Lyndall Shope-Mafole
Members of the Provincial Interim Leadership
Tshwane Interim Regional Chairperson, Cde Lungisa Daca
Members of the Interim Regional Leadership,
Comrade Leaders in the Zones and Branches
Comrade Leaders of the Youth and Women Movement, and Business & Professional
All Wards & PR Councillor Candidates
Invited Guests
Members of the media
All stakeholders present
Ladies and Gentlemen

I greet you all. This function is a success because you came.

The great Italian political theorist, Noberto Bobbio, provides an excellent minimalist definition of democracy. He defines democratic voters as people who are empowered to choose the leaders to take collective decisions. The democratic citizens, in this formulation, should be absolutely guaranteed basic civil liberties, such as the freedom of speech, assembly, expression, equality before the law, and etc. But more importantly, the voters should be offered real alternatives to choose from.

It is apparent from this democratic position that the formation of the Congress of the People was an important moment in the widening of South Africa's democratic space. It provides the Voter, for the first time, with a political alternative capable of taking power. We are taking over the City of Tshwane.

The excitement that has been generated by the Congress of the People is primarily accounted for by

  • The defence of the constitution and equality before the law
  • the identification with the concerns about the state of our democracy today;
  • the future that the country should pursue; and
  • the sense that the struggle for a greater economic future and moral integrity is lost

But, that this possible calamity could be arrested through the alternative THAT IS the Congress of the People. Thus, tonight, we declare, TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW!

It is our pride and joy that we are residents of the Seat of Government, the Capital City of our country and a home to embassies of a variety of countries of the world. To this effect, Tshwane must be governed in a manner that befits its stature.

Our Metro is complex. It has the characters of urban, semi rural and rural areas; each with its own challenges and opportunities. These therefore, necessitate an objective and focused development plan that must reflect the following:

  • The long term development of the municipality with special emphasis on the municipality's most critical development and internal transformational needs;
  • An assessment of the existing level of development in the municipality, which must include a process to ensure that all communities in Tshwane receive basic services;
  • The development priorities and objectives for its elected term, including its local economic development aims;
  • The development strategies which must be aligned with national or provincial sectoral plans and planning requirements binding on the municipality in terms of legislative imperatives;
  • A spatial development framework which must include the provision of basic guidelines for land use management system for the municipality;
  • The operational strategies;
  • Disaster management plans;
  •  A financial plan that encompasses all the elements of an Integrated Development Plan;
  • Key performance indicators and performance targets and act on failures.
  • A clear and concise Supply Chain Management system aimed at removing bottlenecks and improves efficiency as well as giving effect to the fight against corruption, fraud and promotes entrepreneurship instead of tender-preneurship.

Note that typical IDP's only focus on providing basic services without addressing planning at an integrated developmental level that encompass the above elements.

It is then, important to empower our communities to understand the legal nature of a municipality. The Local Government Municipal Systems Act of 2000 S(2) (a-d) defines a municipality as an organ of state, consisting of the political structure, the administration and the COMMUNITY.

In the Metros, we have Ward Committees, established to enhance participatory democracy in local government. Ward Committees must include all social formations, eg church, sports, residents associations etc. Unlike currently, where Ward Committees are simply extensions of Political Parties and excluding important sections of interest groupings within communities. This explains why the Ward committees are so in-efficient and ineffective.

Public participation in the affairs of the municipality is a key element to ensuring effective functioning and to give effect to participative democracy!

The political structures and administration alone cannot purport to be the only role players in decision making. Any municipal process or activity that excludes the communities and other sectors is in itself illegal.

We have recently observed the manner in which the City of Tshwane tried to manipulate the budget consultative meetings that were held in various places in and around Tshwane. Meetings were scheduled from the 4th to 8th April 2011 (14th in Hammanskraal) but with a closing date for written submissions being Sunday the 10th April 2011; giving communities no time to make meaningful submissions.

In these meetings, draft budgets, property rates policy amendment and the IDP documents were not made available to the public. Only faint copies of the power-point presentation of the budget summary were made available to a select few. This is a contravention of S (22) of the Local Government Municipal Finance Management Act 2003.

Of critical importance, the communities did not participate in the preparation or review of the current IDP. In March 2011, the City of Tshwane published in the Pretoria News newspaper that IDP consultations will take place in April 2011. But instead, we saw "the budget" process in April 2011. This is yet another contravention of the relevant Municipal Acts and utter disrespect. Even in their last days, they are still failing to act within the statutory framework.

We, the Congress of the People made a written submission to the City of Tshwane to compel it to conduct proper public consultation as per the provisions of the relevant pieces of legislations. Failure to consider the request positively will result in the matter being registered with the High court to force the municipality to comply its own rules and regulations. We shall continue to engage with our communities and other civil society organisations to ensure that their rights are fully respected.

In one of the slides, the City of Tshwane stated that after the incorporation of the Metsweding District Municipality, the greater City of Tshwane will be the largest Metropolitan Municipality in the country with 2.2 million people and 105 wards. Does bigger mean better . . . . . . . .?

It is worth noting that the wards in Tshwane will increase from 76 to 97 whereas Metsweding will shrink from 20 to 8 wards. Effectively, Tshwane's political space is broadened whereas Metsweding is denied their political space. This is contrary to the very fundamental democratic principle of local government.

Another matter to consider is whether or not the incorporation will translate into efficient and effective service delivery and improved quality of life for all. Or, is it just another ploy by the ANC, because for them, politics is only a game of numbers. How sad? It is suppose to be about giving the basics of a decent life.

All these facts have fuelled a lot of anger, dissatisfaction and despair in our communities.

We have a responsibility to reach out to our communities and encourage them to VOTE right; to vote for an alternative - the Congress of the People!

The Local Government Municipal Structures Act of 2000 S(12) gives specific provisions on the consultation process that must be effected with affected communities when boundaries and municipal areas are demarcated. Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Tshwane and Metsweding were not consulted, for some, they were hearing about the incorporation for the first time during these budget meetings.

An official of the City of Tshwane confirmed at the Sammy Marks Square budget meeting that they did not do the consultation, the incorporation was imposed on them by the provincial and national government. It is like a tail wagging the Dog! The council thinks for some odd reason, they have power over communities; they refuse to recognise that they in face are the servants of their communities. Our communities deserve better, they deserve respect!

We, the Congress of the People are vehemently opposed to the manner in which the incorporation was done for the following reasons:

  • It is limiting the voters their political space - a crucial element of democracy,
  • Public participation was not done - the very essence of participatory democracy,
  • Non-compliance to the law, and
  • A feasibility study was not done.

We, the Congress of the People will continue to engage with all stakeholders including the Demarcation Forums so as to ensure that their rights are respected and the relevant legislative framework is respected and complied with at all times.

The City of Tshwane Municipality led by the ANC is plagued with CORRUPTION, FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT and WASTE. How then, can the people of Tshwane expect the corrupt ANC to manage a bigger and much complex Metropolitan Municipality? It is evident; they do not have the necessary and relevant capacity. Even such an administration is not effective as it is largely ignored, again a question of a tail wagging the Dog!

Well, incorporation or not, our municipalities require proper integrated planning, efficient and effective systems, administration with specific relevant skills. Politicians and administrators must be RELIABLE, ACCOUNTABLE AND INCORRUPTIBLE. Their key intent should be to serve with distinction, they must give their all.

COPE Manifesto centres around the principle of DECENT DELIVERY, DECENT DWELLING and DECENT EXISTENCE. The Employment Commission Report and Stats SA 2007 Community Survey attest to major challenges in the area of economic transformation. The income disparity is a clear indication that the majority of our people are still leaving in adverse poverty.

The 2011/12 MTREF (Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework) proposed property rates and taxes increase is yet another clear illustration that the ANC led Council is inconsiderate and insensitive to the current poverty levels of our people; and bad financial management (reference to the North Gauteng High Court ruling - R26.5 million of Independent Schools Association to be written off due to an illegal and illogical property rates policy).

The proposed property rates and taxes are way above the inflation rate. The property rates and taxes will not be affordable and will result in irrecoverable amounts and will increase the bad debts book. It has happened, The City of Tshwane did not learn, and it will continue to happen unless WE - THE VOTERS, take them out of the Council.

It is worth noting that the property rates and taxes of the Metsweding District Municipality are very low but their incorporation into Tshwane will significantly increase their property rates and taxes, for some the percentage increase will be up to 50%. The Publication on Local Government Budget and Expenditure Review published by the National Treasury state categorically that "AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME IS A MEASURE OF AFFORDABILITY OF PROPERTY TAX AND SERVICE CHARGES".

BUT, about 64% of households in Tshwane earn a monthly income of between R0 - R3200. A DIRE situation in Metsweding is a genuine source of concern, about 73% of households earns a monthly income of between R0 - R3200 (source: Stats SA 2007 Community Survey).

All these challenges call for a "progressive political alternative", an alternative with a compelling vision for the future and a leadership to turn around the status quo.

Tshwane is a city full of possibilities. We host institutions of higher learning, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria, UNISA, University of Limpopo - MEDUNSA Campus, etc. Our level of education in this city must resonate with this fact. We are a wealthy city yet our Municipality is bankrupt. We, the Congress of the People will inspire business to grow and create an enabling environment to build new and emerging ones. We will build very strong relationships with business in an effort to grow the economy of the city and to reduce unemployment and poverty. We have the following well established industries in our city:

  • Mining
  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Transport
    • Wonderboom National Airport
    • Gautrain (From Hatfield, Centurion to airport)
    • Public transport
  • Retail
  • Agriculture
  • Financial Services
  • Manufacturing (Ford, Nissan, BMW, Brewery, Iscor, Nampak, Lion Match, Tin Manufacturer, Pets Food, etc. Need to pursue more opportunities, Factories are standing empty at Hammanskraal and Ga-rankua.)
  • Sports (This is an untapped market. Unknown soccer legends that can grow young talent, eg Jan "Malombo" Leshaba, Dan ‘Dance' Malesela, Laurence Make, Peter "Fuduwa" Mokotedi, Patrick "Let Them Dance Molala, Lucas ‘Masterpieces' Moripe and many more!)
    • Blue bulls, an example of a lost business opportunity when it chose to play in Soweto rather than in Atteridgeville at the ‘Masterpieces' Moripe Stadium)
  • Entertainment and Broadcasting, (The Bob Mabenas', Tim Modise, - they can be the Capital City's brand ambassadors)
  • Arts - Music (Don Laka, Vusi Mahlasela, Phillip "Malombo" Tabane - we are the home of Jazz Music. We should encourage our youth to pursue quality music.)

The City of Tshwane Municipality led by COPE will also focus on branding and repositioning our city as a Capital City. Currently, the state of the inner city is appalling and the apparent decay is largely unattractive as an investment destination.

In conclusion, unlike other political parties, COPE wants all our leaders to be honest, hard working, ethical and devoted to serving the people. We are adamant that citizens should elect their Mayors directly to ensure accountability to the people and not political parties. Now that you know who we are, come and engage us, we are here to serve you. To further demonstrate our commitment, we have signed a social contract that empowers you the people of Tshwane to recall us if we loot your funds and fail to deliver.

Be a PARTNER for change!

Tshwane will never be the same again - Time for change is now!


Issued by COPE, April 20 2011

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