Members of the Provincial Legislature
Representatives of the media present
Ladies and gentlemen
I greet you this afternoon and thank you for your responsiveness.
You would most probably recall that the full entourage of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) led by the Chairperson, Hon Thandi Modise, and working with the Provincial Legislature of the Eastern Cape, walked the streets, listened to the people of this area, and left with a list of service delivery challenges and undertakings, while leaving behind recommendations for action.
That was in November 2016 during the second phase of our flagship programme of Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP), covering the Alfred Nzo District and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipalities. While we focussed our attentions primarily on education, health, infrastructure and economic development, ALL matters raised by participants in the public hearings and written submissions were accepted and considered.
Since then, there has been a lot of work done in many areas to respond to the citizens’ service delivery challenges and aspirations, while in some areas we experienced inertia on the part of some implementers of government programmes. This time, about 50 members of the NCOP accompanied by Members of the Provincial Legislature are back in the Eastern Cape for the third leg of TPTTP.
This third leg was introduced to further strengthen our efforts to hold the executive accountable while also optimising citizen participation in governance. Between November 2016 and now, the NCOP has closely monitored work taking place and generated a progress report.
The progress report gives a clinical outline of all Executive undertakings and recommendations made by the NCOP for resolving service delivery challenges. It also maps out progress made. We wish to share with you this report, copies of which will be made available to you in various formats. For your ease of reference we wish to outline a high-level summary as follows:
Our priority areas included education, health, economic development, roads and transport, energy including electricity, human settlements and social development matters. These covered issues pertinent to our people such as unemployment, education and health facilities , security in schools and clinics, access to decent housing, early childhood development, access to higher education, and the lived experiences of people in accessing government services in this regard.
We are delighted to share that the TPTTP campaign is registering progressively the desired results. Of the 346 recommendations made during the TPTTP visit in both major municipal areas, we registered a 73% (254) response rate in handling and/or execution of the recommendations. Information on progress on Executive undertakings still proves challenging. This is amongst the matters that we will address during the current report-back session.
These have turned the tide for the better for thousands of citizens of the Eastern Cape most of whom are poor.
These included opening of libraries for citizens, provision of additional classrooms, building of security fences in clinics, reliable water supply, provision of facilities for students with disabilities such as St Thomas school just outside of King William’s Town, renovations and support of early childhood development centres, provision of temporary toilets for learners. In the Buffalo City Metro Municipality, 69.5% response rate was registered against 197 recommendations made, while in Alfred Nzo District Municipality a 78.5% response rate was registered against 149 registered recommendations of the NCOP.
Despite the reports showing progress and the NCOPs advance team that visited each area to verify performance claims, members of the NCOP working with MPLs will still use these three days to inspect in person these projects and also report back to the citizens of these municipalities. Public meetings will be held on Thursday 15 March 2018, at 15:00 in Alfred Nzo District Municipality and 16:00 in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.
There are areas where either no progress was made or much more work needs to be done to really push service delivery to a higher level. For example, only 19% of the 22 undertakings or commitments made have been dealt with, while only 35% of the 109 service delivery challenges have been resolved. These are areas to receive heightened attention going forward, in keeping with the overarching theme of the 5th Parliament of “following up on our commitments to the people”. The NCOP and the Provincial Legislature will continue to be joined at the hip as they work very hard to address all services delivery challenges of the people.
In conclusion, it is crucial to reiterate that the mandate of Parliament and invariably, the National Council of Provinces, is to make laws, to provide executive oversight, and to improve the involvement of the people in governance. Moreover, the NCOP represents the interests of the provinces, including the local sphere of government at national level. Since the inception of the NCOP in 1997, our ability to carry out this mandate has grown by leaps and bounds, and we continue to learn and improve how we work.
Seven groups of about eight NCOP members together with Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) will traverse these two big municipalities over the next three days. They will see for themselves projects where good progress was registered and also those stagnating, engage both citizens to give feedback as well as executors of service delivery programmes. We will share lessons learnt and revert to you with a report on Friday this week.
I thank you