Speech Notes: Vote 01 OTP Annual & Half Year Financial Oversight Reports

Issued by Kobus Botha, MPL
Office of the Premier portfolio committee member

Honourable Speaker
All protocols observed

The report tabled today by the Chairperson of the Multi-Party Portfolio Committee on Office of The Premier (OTP) ensures that oversight reporting on performance is brought to this August House for debate and hopefully corrective action.

The Office of the Premier received an unqualified audit opinion with matters of emphasis during the year under review.

Interestingly this means that the AG felt that additional disclosure of the information is important for users of audit information in order to understand the financial statements.

It is also true that an Emphasis of Matter paragraph, as presented or disclosed in the financial statements, may imply that the matter has not been appropriately presented or disclosed.

Honourable Speaker, after 26 years of ANC control in the EC Province the 6TH term cohort in the Office of the Premier is still struggling to achieve the most basic of its targets. It did not achieve all its performance targets as planned. Numerous posts were not filled, and some employees were not even inducted in the Office of the Premier.

Madam Speaker, the Premier says he is disappointed in the financial management and service delivery at local government level. Instead of being disappointed, why does he not do something about it? The Constitution gives him and his executive the ability to intervene.

In fact, it COMPELS him to do so.

The Constitution, under section 139 (5) states, and I quote:

“If a municipality, as result of a crisis in its financial affairs, is in serious or persistent material breach of its obligations to provide basic services or to meet its financial commitments, or admits that it is unable to meet its obligations or financial commitments, the relevant provincial executive must impose a recovery plan aimed at securing the municipality’s ability to meet its obligations to provide basic services or its financial commitments.”

It doesn’t say the executive could, Madam Speaker, or even should; it says the executive MUST!

Our municipalities ARE in crisis. Why does the Premier not act?

Madam Speaker, most municipalities in the province have outdated Spatial Development Frameworks and their Integrated Development Plan (IDP) documents do not align with provincial and national priorities. This is, in part, due to the weak participation by departments in the IDP process and dysfunctional IGR structures.

There is also a failure to report on key government projects and programmes and the non-existence of clear-cut mechanisms, process and procedures for managing community and stakeholders concerns which festers discontent in communities.

Provincial and district communication coordinating structures are not functional, which affects integrated planning between and within the spheres of government.

Improving integrity in the public service is slack as 171 backlog cases dating as far back as 2005 are still awaiting finalisation due to limited investigative capacity.

Given the fact that the EC ANC is still struggling to deliver basic services, we in the DA cannot wait for the ANC to focus on improving service delivery.

We do service delivery right, the first time, because that’s what we do best! We don’t theorise over service delivery like ANC ideologues!!

A DA-led Provincial Government will listen to understand the people’s plight for jobs and quality services.

We will use citizen satisfaction surveys to improve our services.

We will also invite citizens to monitor and make suggestions to improve service delivery as in the DA we are proud to serve ALL the people of our country and where we govern our track record of Good Governance speaks volumes to that commitment.

It is our view that there is no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.

We believe that in order to provide real quality service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

Honourable Speaker, under a capable government that truly serves the people, it should come as no surprise that the Auditor General of South Africa attributes the success of the Western Cape Province, the top-performing province in SA, to an effective leadership culture that focuses on the implementation of action plans, and established policies and procedures that guide effective and efficient service delivery.

And on that basis, we are growing our support base every day as more, and more people experience the fruits of Good Ethical Governance that delivers and puts the people’s wellbeing first.

Furthermore, Honourable Speaker, with blackouts and load shedding frequently sweeping across the nation due to the energy crisis in South Africa, it has become imperative for municipalities to start investigating alternate energy sources.

In the DA-led Western Cape Province, a DA municipal council in Stellenbosch is in the lead to potentially become the first municipality in the country to eliminate load shedding as they commence with an investigation into the use and generation of alternative electricity energy.

And it can be done here too. The DA-led Kouga municipality is in the process of investigating a biomass plant and a solar plant, to generate sustainable energy, freeing the municipality from Eskom’s grip.
Our governments are putting the people first. A stable, guaranteed electricity supply leads to job security and economic growth.

DA controlled Councils are innovative and forward-thinking, putting the people’s needs first.
Honourable Speaker, Eastern Cape municipalities owe more than R 2 billion rands to ESKOM, and the Premier must ensure that effective financial management of ESKOM monies takes place in order to keep our lights on.

We don’t want electricity outages! We want a healthy, safe and sustainable energy supply.

We want no more long queues for citizens when it comes to vehicle license renewals.

If citizens of the DA-led City of Cape Town can now renew vehicle licenses, through online e-service portal that provides a quick and easy way to pay motor vehicle license fees, why can’t we also not have this kind of service in the EC?

The Premier must sort out the broadband rollout, finalise ICT court cases against OTP and provide the ICT Steering committees in departments with clear Terms of Reference in order to become functional. We want online government services in this province.

Madam Speaker, when the Premier does get around to this, can he please make sure it is, in fact, a term of reference written for this province? We don’t need to steal other countries work and claim it as our own.

Madam Speaker, the Premier speaks of the roads that have been built but fails to mention the backlog in maintaining existing roads, that are in an appalling state.

The DA-led Kouga municipality, through their forward and innovative thinking, have built Africa’s first eco-friendly road with waste plastic. This new method of construction is more durable, requires less maintenance and consumes plastic waste that would otherwise be bound for landfill.

What is the province doing to innovatively improve road infrastructure?

The Kouga DA-led council has also ensured that more than 21 000 household refuse wheelie bins are distributed to residents.

What is the EC Province doing to help curb illegal dumping?

Honourable Speaker the report of OTP indicates that there are gaps in consequence management and accountability in the province.

Surely the buck stops at the Premier’s door. When is the Premier going to start making the tough calls and take action against those in his own executive that have betrayed the trust of the people of the Eastern Cape?

Surely one must lead by example?

Let me highlight another municipality where political leaders value Good Governance and accountability.

In NMBM our DA re-elected executive mayor Nqaba Bhanga is leading a responsible and people-centred multi-party Coalition team that puts the city’s people’s needs first.

Within a month and a half of taking office, National Treasury released 1.4 billion rands in grant funding to the new coalition of good governance in NMBM.

Nqaba also allocated and signed off an additional R 8 million rand to fix 10 000 potholes in NMBM.
Additional mobile traffic law enforcement equipment was unveiled that will bolster vehicle law enforcement in the city.

Nqaba and his team have started to stop the vandalism and sale of municipal property in NMBM by taking law enforcement officials to conduct compliance inspections on illegal scrap metal and second-hand store dealers.

Watch this space for quality service delivery news!

Honourable Speaker, as we move into the fourth industrial revolution voters will judge each municipality in SA by its ability to deliver innovative, effective, and efficient services that address their needs at a lower cost.

Customer satisfaction through Batho Pele Principles will become more and more of a deciding factor before people decide to vote for any political party.

The DA supports the report as a true reflection of OTP’s performance, or rather the lack thereof.
We want a much stronger focus on Monitoring and Evaluation of departments and municipalities with speedy effective consequence management action taking place where performance lacks.
Improved, effective M & E will contribute substantially to the achievement of the Premier’s Office objectives.

I thank you.