HoD of Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements in Gauteng; Ms T Mbassa;
DDG: Local Government and Community Support Ms I Mokate;
Acting DDG: Service Delivery at the DPSA, Mr Emmanuel Kgomo;
All councilors present here;
Senior Leaders of all spheres of Government;
Our most important guests today, the CDW’s of the Gauteng province;
Colleagues from the Media;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Good morning to all of you;
I am very pleased that today we are gathered here in this province of Gauteng, to hold this provincial consultative engagement with you, the community development workers (CDWs) of this unique province. Our engagement with you today follows our visits to Limpopo and Western Cape provinces, last week, where we also interacted with your CDW colleagues, with a view of addressing common areas of concern as well as appreciating the good work you have undertaken to service our communities.
Therefore this is the third of the planned consultative engagements with CDWs, which we have planned to convene in all nine provinces.
As the Minister for Public Service and Administration, I have decided to engage with all CDWs throughout the country because I believe that this is one of the progammes of our government that we must never neglect. Although my schedule is quite packed, I have decided to ensure that I come here and engage with you before I attend to other commitments later on. I must commit to you that we are going to make everything possible to revitalize the programme.
We are here to engage with you, in preparation of the CDW national conference to be hosted next year. We are reaching out to all of you, our community development workers, under the theme; “CDW’s working together with communities to improve access to government services and towards radical economic development for local communities”.
We would like to reassure you that empowerment of CDWs across the country remains critical. As government we are committed to ensure that the correct tools of trade and conditions of service in general are looked at urgently to enable you to effectively serve the people.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Our engagements with the CDWs in Limpopo and Western Cape Provinces provided us an opportunity to learn more about the work of CDWs, the challenges they face, as well as the difference that they are making in their communities.
The issue of location of this programme is a question continuously raised by CDWs. The CDWs in those two provinces say their actual location influences the implementation of the programme. As Russel Johnson put it, “Why is CDW nationally in different locations e.g. in Offices of the Premier (Free State and Bokone Bophirima); in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Gauteng, KZN, Mpumalanga and N. Cape), in the Department of Local Government (WC), in the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Limpopo). Mr Johnson further wanted to know if there will ever be uniformity, or if there is a possibility of establishing a CDW Council to handle CDW issues.
Your colleagues also raised the issue of security and their exposure in dangerous communities. They indicated that sometimes when communities are angry, as CDWs, they bear the brunt of such anger. Mr Kenny Tokwe of Ward 24 in the Cape Town Metro experienced such anger when his house was burnt down around October this year.
The CDWs requested that Government consider an insurance scheme similar to that enjoyed by councillors. The rationale is that CDWs work in the same environment as councillors and when councillor’s property is burnt or damaged, the insurance restores the property.
Ladies and gentlemen;
I am happy that here in Gauteng, the CDW programme is recognised as a programme that is aimed to address the gap between government’s service delivery programmes and the people who should benefit from these services as well as to create development partnerships between government, civil society and local communities. It is encouraging that MEC Mashatile has already started to engage the CDWs of this province earlier this year, and that most of the challenges experienced by the CDWs in this province are already properly recorded.
Gauteng is a unique province, with unique challenges and opportunities. This is a province that continues to experience an increase in population, and therefore requires CDWs who are very active, and who will be visible in their communities.
Since this is an urban community, our CDWs must be supported with relevant tools of trade in order for them to keep up with the development pace of this province. Community development workers of this province are supposed to be multi-skilled.
The second important point is that community development workers must always maintain direct contact with people in their communities.
These are the two founding principles that all of us, more specifically CDWs, must always bear in mind.
The CDW programme was primarily created to bridge the service delivery gap between the government and the people. It is a community-based programme established by government to facilitate a solid community-government interface, which would result in increased access to government services by communities through the ward based CDW’s.
This means that as CDWs you are expected to know about services provided by various departments at different spheres of government. It is important that all spheres of government cooperate to give citizens a complete package of services that will improve their living conditions.
Multi- skilled CDWs help enrich the quality of services for communities, by identifying new programmes and creating linkages and coordination with other community stakeholders.
CDWs must continue to assist community members with access to socio-economic development activities. The role of CDWs in these activities includes identifying beneficiaries for projects; networking beneficiaries or projects with resources, mobilise financial and training resources as well as assisting in reviving stagnant projects.
In addition, CDWs must make referrals of small business to institutions providing support to SMMEs.
For example, in this era where as government we have embarked on a drive to push for radical socio economic transformation, it should be the CDWs who help people to access information and services to set up community-based projects such as small business development projects.
It should be the CDWs who explain to our people, what their government mean when we speak of radical socio economic transformation. It should be the CDWs who help clarify our people and assure them that radical economic transformation is only aimed at unlocking their economic potential, so that everyone can participate in the economy of our country.
CDWs must help communities to access funds for economic and social development from the different sources, such as government agencies.
CDWs who understand government policies are in a better position to equip communities in respective areas, with knowledge and information. There is still a need for community development workers to be the conduits of information between government and the citizens, because there is still a digital divide in our country. Many South Africans are still not aware of government services, and some of them do not know how to access the services that their government provides.
As the CDWs you must learn and appreciate modern ICT tools, because we are moving towards an era of e-government and the 4th industrial revolution. Therefore for you to be the conduits of information, you will need to be equipped with relevant skills and tools.
You must always strive to know more about government programmes, and also make such information accessible to all community members. You must always provide feedback to government regarding community experiences of services and governance. Another important task is that you must assist communities to engage with, and provide input into integrated development plans and other programmes of government.
Another important role that I want to emphasize is that in terms of public service regulations, you must report any corruption or irregularity that is encountered within any sphere of government, government department, community organisation, or private sector. As the agents of service delivery, you must know that corruption has a very negative impact on service delivery. Corruption can undo all the good work that you are doing as CDWs if you allow it to happen.
Ladies and gentlemen;
It is important that the Community Development Workers are linked to municipal wards and to ward councilors and committees. It is therefore important that we utilise these consultative engagements to take stock in this regard, so that we can know which wards are not having CDW’s, and how such a situation is affecting the communities.
There are 3239 CDWs countrywide and the ultimate aim is to reach the goal of one CDW per Ward. Currently there are 4392 Wards in the country.
Here in Gauteng Province there are 387 CDWs and 127 vacancies. We must look into the cause of this disparity and see if some wards are not being disadvantaged. This province is experiencing an increase in population, and therefore the role of CDW’s is of paramount importance. We must find a way to deal with the vacancy rate as a matter of urgency.
I have been informed about some of the challenges that the CDW’s of this province are facing, as per your engagement with the MEC. These problems and challenges included, but not limited to, filling of vacant post from management to all ward that are without CDWs; tools of trade; Office spaces for CDW Supervisors and Work spaces for CDWs; proper completion of performance agreement instruments and fair execution of performance assessment of CDW staff; training and development programmes; career mobility; transport to do work, especially in vast areas; etc. We will continue to work together to resolve these challenges.
It is however pleasing to be informed that here in this province the CDW programme is receiving the necessary support from the provincial government. We will work closely with the MEC here in the province to improve the programme to the satisfaction of our CDWs.
We are comforted by the fact that the provincial government acknowledge that CDWs have an important and strategic role to support the province in the achievement of set objectives.
APRM Second Generation Review process
As part of this consultative engagement, we would also like to make you aware about the upcoming African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) second generation review process, which will commence in the 2018/19 financial year. The APRM is an instrument that is voluntarily acceded to by African Union (AU) Member States.
You would recall that since formally acceding to the APRM on 9 March 2003, South Africa has submitted its three progress reports. The Third Report on the Implementation of the National Programme of Action was tabled for consideration by the APR Forum in January 2014. The January 2014 report constituted the last and final progress report on the implementation of the APRM in South Africa since the Base Review.
As such, South Africa, together with Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana, is amongst some of the countries due for the Second Generation Review process.
To date there are 21 APRM Member States who have undergone the Base Review and Kenya is the first country to go through its Periodic Review whilst Uganda, Ivory Coast and South Africa are amongst countries due for their periodic reviews. It is in line with the above strategic and political context that South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Algeria and Nigeria, among others, are due to follow in the footsteps of Kenya and undertake their Second APRM Generation reviews.
It is thus important that yourselves as the CDWs, are appraised on the APRM review process so that you can also share this information with the community as we prepare for the Second Generation Review process.
As you may be aware, in South Africa, the APRM process is a participatory process led by government but inclusive of civil society - business, labour, professionals, non-governmental organisations and other variety of stakeholders. A range of different mechanisms are used to ensure that citizens have a chance to contribute to this process.
Through this participatory process, the overall objective is to build consensus and ensure buy-in to a country programme of action.
As CDWs who are rooted in your communities, you will also play an important role of engaging the communities during the upcoming APRM second generation review process.
16 Days of Activism campaign
This consultative engagement also takes place during the time when it is The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign which in our country we observe annually from 25 November to 10 December. This year the campaign will be held under the theme: “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”.
Over the period government will convene a series of dialogues on violence against women and children to focus on the problem, discuss the causes and to find appropriate solutions. Through the dialogue sessions government will interact with community members who experience violence and abuse.
We urge you as the CDWs to be part of this campaign. Encourage our communities to report all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence to the police. Our criminal justice system and our courts deal harshly with those who commit violence and abuse. The police and courts are empowered to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence, assault and rape.
During these 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, as government, we call upon men of our country to take the lead in the fight against violence and abuse.
Men have the power to put an end to abuse, assault, rape and domestic violence against women and children. We call on responsible father figures to instil the values of human dignity, equality and respect in young men and boys. Our young boys must be mentored and guided in their journey to adulthood so they value and respect women and children.
I thank you.