Agents of division will not win - Patricia de Lille
Patricia de Lille |
25 January 2012
Cape Town mayor condemns plans for invasion of Rondebosch Common
SPEECH BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR, ALDERMAN PATRICIA DE LILLE, AT THE FIRST COUNCIL MEETING FOR THE YEAR ON 25 JANUARY 2012
Good morning, goeiedag, molweni.
Before we begin, I would like to congratulate the ANC on its 100-year anniversary. It is a tremendous achievement and we thank those who sacrificed so much for this country.
I would like to welcome everyone back to Council for the start of a new year.
Councillors and City officials, we have a busy year ahead of us. It will be a year full of challenges and difficulties. Like all legislative sessions, it will have triumphs and failures too. We must prepare ourselves for all that governing requires of us as public servants.
Though many of us have taken a break recently, the work of this Council never stops. I wish to pay special tribute to our uniformed services in the Safety and Security Directorate, from the Metro Police, to the Emergency Services, to the Disaster Risk Management Services of this City who kept us and our visitors safe throughout.
Thanks to their efforts, we had an almost incident-free Festive Season - a safety record that any major city can be proud of.
Furthermore, I would like to thank the other City officials, led by the City Manager and the Deputy City Manager, who worked throughout the festive season, ensuring we had water to drink and electricity to turn the lights on and all the other work that goes unseen and unsung in this city.
And I would like to say a special thank you to the budget department, Mr. Johan Steyl and his team, who have been working day and night, forsaking time with their families.
To you all, I say thank you, baie dankie, nkosi.
This Festive Season, we truly demonstrated that this City is becoming more inclusive and that our plans to foster social unity are producing results.
We witnessed unprecedented numbers of Capetonians and visitors alike flocking to City facilities, from beaches, to pools, to parks; secure in the knowledge that they would find these facilities safe, clean and well-maintained.
At the beginning of this month, we had a successful Minstrel Carnival. Cape Town's minstrels were able to march through our streets along their historic route in an incident-free celebration of our diversity and heritage.
A truly historic day, it was an honour to be part of that inclusive spirit that courses through this city, where all those who want to help us build a better future for ourselves and our children can come together and be one people in one united metro.
But I am sad to say that this vision of a better society is not shared by everyone. There are those who would sooner see this city destroyed, driven in two by violence and aggression, than be a part of a shared destiny.
I tell this Council now, those agents of division will not win.
In stark contrast to events that bring people together like the Minstrel Carnival, some people have a different idea of spectacles this city should play host to.
There are always those who will act destructively, who will undo the good work of others to pursue selfish political motives.
I think here in particular of Mario Wanza, a would-be but failed public servant who claims to speak on behalf of the people of the Cape Flats. Mr. Wanza and a variety of so-called civic organisations who have signalled their intention to, in their own words, ‘Invade Rondebosch Common,' this Friday.
Let me be very clear as the Mayor who does speak on behalf of the entire city: I will not allow these agents of destruction to use their misguided, naïve and brutal misunderstandings of the politics of race to divide this city.
That they would invade a peaceful community of students, retirees, young and old professionals of all races, men and women peacefully living their lives speaks to the character of these movements.
It is a character we know all too well. They are people who so lack the courage of their convictions that they send in women and children first, as they did in Kapteinsklip last year. These cowards use others as fodder to advance their agendas.
I tell the people of Cape Town this: they will not succeed. Because we will not let them.
Mr. Speaker, I call on every single member of this Council to stand united against those trying to divide this city. I ask everyone, especially the leader of the opposition, who wears a different hat as the Provincial Secretary of COSATU, to call on all of our people to work together to build a better city for us all.
And if we can find that unity, then surely we will not falter.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the business of governing, while continuous, goes through stages of evolution.
They are the phases of development of administrations born in democratic systems. They are the lifespans of the electorate and so go through different periods. And I believe we are moving into a different period in this government's life.
In as much as we put plans in place and continue on our trajectory and our mission to reach ever greater heights, we must realise that we cannot control everything. We must be forewarned with the knowledge that we still bear the burden of our past and the scars of our history.
We must never fail to understand that what we do in this year and the rest of the years of this term will still never completely address the inequalities, the divisions and the pain in our society.
But knowing these things, knowing where we may fall short, we can govern with strength, integrity and truth.
We can continue with our programme of action as honest brokers. And seeing the truth of our limitations, we can strive to move beyond them.
The time for excuses is over. That honeymoon period when one can make excuses for being a new administration is now gone. The novelty of a new term of office has settled down into the stable expectations of a leadership well-entrenched and seized with its obligations and responsibility.
The framework for the implementation of our mandate is in place. Delivery has never ceased in this city. But delivery must now be completely in accordance with this government's five pillars for Cape Town: the Opportunity City; the Safe City; the Caring City; the Inclusive City; and the Well-run City.
This is no longer the new government. But it is still and will continue to be the best government for the people of our great city.
We will continue to use modern management techniques to improve the efficiency of the City.
In this regard, I am pleased that we continue to implement excellent financial monitoring systems and that we continue to have the best-managed finances of any metro in the country.
Mr. Speaker, on the Council agenda today is the Adjustment Budget. It contains the specific measurements and numbers concerning the changes we wish to make for the duration of the financial year.
It will be noted that there are some significant shifts in amounts, specifically regarding capital expenditure.
Such shifts are necessary functions of modern accounting and represent a key reprioritisation of the budget. Such reprioritisation allows our budget to remain versatile and for us to adjust to changing circumstances in the city.
Indeed, it is precisely because this administration has created such a focus on monitoring capital spending that we are able to make changes where they are required, especially as limitations and challenges arise.
Those challenges especially arise as a consequence of a ruling in the Constitutional Court last year that allows for ever greater licence for parties to appeal tenders awarded.
Such appeals, especially on larger projects where the majority of capital expenditure is consumed, take time to resolve. The time to obey the law results in project delays, which results in under-spending.
But throughout it all, we are doing what we can to work as efficiently as possible. Indeed, the reprioritisation has given this administration some unique opportunities to fulfil our specific mandate.
For instance, I am proud that our project to connect the entire city is given renewed life in this reprioritisation. The Fibre Optic Network Project under the Adjustment Budget, if approved by the Council, will receive an additional R19 million.
This and other such changes are the hallmark of good government and allow us to spend our money where we need to. I would remind this Council that if we were living in an ANC-run metro, such money would not be reprioritised: it would simply be stolen.
But good management extends beyond budgeting, as important as that is. Good management also entails plans and goals for the year ahead and detailed maps on how to achieve those goals.
We have just concluded a highly successful Mayoral Committee breakaway where we discussed each Directorate's strategic focus areas, their delivery programmes and their alignment with the IDP for the new financial year.
Mr. Speaker, soon it will be my great privilege to unveil the IDP to this Council. Our working draft at the moment, a draft put together after the most extensive public participation process conducted by this city, one that reached over a million people, is the full expression of democratic will translated seamlessly into a programme of governance.
The democratic will of the people and a programme of government. What was once two separate languages have been bridged by a new dialect, a dialect that shall be the everyday vernacular of the City.
Mr. Speaker, it is also my great privilege to provide this Council with an update on the Mayor's Job Creation programme.
In the period between July and December last year, the City of Cape Town created 11 309 work opportunities.
Due to our performance, the City is due for an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) incentive grant from the National Department of Public Works to the value of R7,4 million.
In addition, a further 120 projects have been submitted to the line departments for consideration.
I am proud that as we build the Opportunity City, we do not neglect the direct alleviation that this programme provides to thousands of our citizens and their families.
Such relief helps us build an Inclusive City.
We are doing all we can to foster inclusion. I have also been informed, and it is my privilege to announce to this Council, that the process of renaming streets and naming new streets and public spaces will soon deal with addressing another painful aspect of our past.
The chairperson of Council Street Naming Committee, Councillor Brett Herron, has signalled his intent to place on the agenda of that Committee the proposal to rename those streets still designated NY, which is commonly held to stand for Native Yard, in Cape Town.
Such a measure, if it meets with the Committee's approval, and that of the public, would, I believe, be a great step towards a better city - one free of at least some of the wounds of our history that still remain.
Those steps are working towards changing an aspect of the city. We should also look for new buildings and new streets where we can bring in new names. But of course, not everything that can be changed should be changed.
Thanks to a draft white paper on safety and security, drafted by the Civilian Secretariat for the National Police and available for public comment, the existence of our Metro Police is under threat.
This draft white paper proposes that metro and municipal police services be abolished and that they all fall under the purview of the National South African Police Services (SAPS).
This has been the agenda of Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, for some time.
One of the primary questions any government must ask itself is: how do we keep our citizens safe? There is an additional layer of complexity that is added for local governments that enters the equation: how can safety be managed whilst preserving the functions between different levels of government?
The final Constitution adopted in 1996 seemingly clearly stated that the country would need a single police service. However, the Constitution also made provision for local police services. In our guiding charter, then, there is the recognised legitimacy for local communities to protect themselves.
Indeed, that vision was in line with the international trend towards devolved police powers for certain local problems. The philosophy of a community-based approach to crime fighting was adopted by Cape Town in 2006 with the realisation that one of the key stakeholders in the community is the City government itself.
Since then, Cape Town has specialised its Metro Police service. The City of Cape Town has deployed several very successful intelligence-driven specialised units (Ghost Squad, Copperheads, Vice Squad, Drug Busters, etc.) who have had great success in combating crime due to good intelligence, careful planning and excellent training.
The Metro Police have helped keep the people of Cape Town safe. If given the chance, they would continue to keep us safe.
It would be a tragedy if their good work was discontinued because of the imperatives of politics. Whether it applies to land invasions or centralising impulses from the national government, we should never allow politics to jeopardise the safety of our citizens.
We will fight this move to do away with Metro Police with every resource at our disposal.
But we will fight nevertheless. We will fight because though governments may evolve, and political circumstances may change, the essential principles of good government, democracy and constitutionalism remain constant.
In conclusion, I tell you that we will fight for the citizens of Cape Town and our constitutional duty to keep them safe.
I thank you.
Issued by Communication Department, City of Cape Town, January 25 2012
Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter