SPEECHES

Remarks by the Minister for the public service and administration Ms Faith Muthambi, MP, on the occasion of the provincial consultative engagements on the Community Development Workers programme and the African Peer Review Mechanism second generation review process, The Ranch Resort (Polokwane Municipality)

Date: 27 Nov 2017

MEC of Limpopo economic development, environment and tourism, Seaparo Sekoati;

Executive Mayor of Capricorn District Municipality;

Executive Mayor of Polokwane Municipality;

All Mayors of our Municipalities present here;

All councilors present here;

Senior Leaders of all spheres of Government;

Our most important guests today, the CDW’s of the Limpopo province;

Members of the Media;

Ladies and gentlemen;

Good day;

I am very pleased that today we are gathered here in this province of Limpopo, to hold our first provincial consultative engagement with you, the community development workers (CDWs) of this wonderful province. This is the first of the planned consultative engagements with CDWs, which we have planned to convene in all nine provinces.

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 are holding this consultative engagements because as government we know and appreciate the important role played by the community development workers in helping our people to access services. We are here to listen to you, and to offer our support in order to improve this important programme of our government.

Ladies and gentlemen;

As government we understand our constitutional responsibility, which is to ensure that citizens have access, and receive quality services, which include information, social security, sufficient food and water, health care, and an administration that is lawful and reasonable, with fair procedures.

While we continue to perform well in terms of carrying out this constitutional obligation, we acknowledge that for our people to have better access to the services we provide, we need to make an effort in order for them to know about, and access these services.

This is the reason why in 2003 former President Thabo Mbeki, during the state of the nation address announced that “Government will create a public service echelon of multi-skilled community development workers who will maintain direct contact with people where these masses live. We are determined to ensure that government goes to the people so that we sharply improve the quality of outcomes of public expenditure intended to raise the standards of living of our people”.

Ladies and gentlemen;

This announcement brought into life the CDW programme. Therefore it is worth mentioning, that the CDW programme was created by our ANC –led government. There are two important points in this 2003 SONA announcement, which we must continue to remember as we engage about this important programme.

The first point is that community development 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.

Compatriots;

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.

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. Therefore as CDW’s you must learn and appreciated 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.

The objectives of the CDW programme are clearly spelled out in section 108 of the public service regulations of 2016. The objectives of the CDWP are to;

  • Assist with improving service delivery and accessibility of services to the public,

    • Assist with intergovernmental coordination both between government line departments and the three spheres of government,

    • Facilitate community development and stronger interaction and partnerships between government and communities, and

    • Support participatory democracy.

It is important for all our community development workers to familiarize themselves with these objectives as set out in the regulations. As CDWs you must know that your actions will determine if these objectives will indeed be achieved. This important programme will only be successful if CDWs play their part, as spelled out in section 109 of the public service regulations.

The role of the CDWs as spelled out in the public service regulations shows that in order to operate in this space, you need to be a very active public service cadre, who is committed to improve the living conditions of your community.

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.

We are a government of the people by the people. This is the reason why we always want to listen to the people. It is through you the CDWs that we can be able to know areas where our people are facing challenges and how we must intervene. You must therefore never underestimate your important role in our system of governance.

You are the agents who must always promote the Batho Pele principles and community participation.

Compatriots;

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 organization, 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.

Earlier this month I led the country’s delegation at the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Vienna Austria. We were able to share our experiences with other member states, and we made our commitment that as a country we will be continuing to work hard to root corruption in all sectors of our society.

I am also leading the government process of reviving the National Anti-Corruption forum, a process that commenced in May this year. I urge you to be part of the work that is being done in fighting against corruption, because corruption can steal the resources that are supposed to be utilized to help the people in your communities.

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 utilize 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 Limpopo Province there are 396 CDWs out of 566 wards. This means that there is a shortage of 170 CDW’s. We must look into the cause of this disparity and see if some wards are not being disadvantaged. This province is largely rural, 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.

As civilians living in the rural areas, most people of this province requires the assistance of CDW’s. Therefore as CDWs of this province, your role include conducting visits to households in order to identify challenges, and alert relevant government institutions.

I have been informed about some of the challenges that the CDW’s of this province are facing, such as lack of computers and printing machines. These must be attended to, and if possible, CDW’s must be provided with modern equipment such as tablets and i-pads because these works faster.

Ladies and gentlemen;

It is 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.

As a province you must continue to work well with other provinces through the National Coordinators Forum, which creates a platform for all provinces to come together and strategize on matters of interest to the CDW programme.

In an ideal situation, there must be a good working relationship between ward councilors, ward committees and community development workers. There must never be a contestation between the three, but instead cooperation to the benefit of our communities. You must work harmoniously with other colleagues in the community level, and where there are challenges they must be speedily resolved with the spirit of collegiality.

Ladies and gentlemen;

As CDWs you must educate and capacitate yourselves, and this can be done with the assistance of government. In this way you can be able to keep yourselves abreast of government priorities and programmes; and will be able to inform citizens about those priorities. When educated and capacitated with knowledge and skills, our CDWs can work better with their communities.

Acquiring further educations and skills also help in terms of career development. You are able to craft your own future, and as government we can be able to utilize your skills even in other areas.

Compatriots;

We are aware of the challenges that our CDWs are facing, and we believe that we must no longer waste time but rather start addressing them to the satisfaction of our people.

Conditions of service pertaining to access to amenities enjoyed by general public servants, such as that CDWs are not fully accessing allowances, training & development, proper performance management and development, employee health and wellness programmes, and recognition of prior learning.

Inadequate monitoring and evaluation of the programme at both national and local levels.

Relationships with local councilors are strained in some areas. This situation may create unhealthy competition and mistrust between the two parties.

We know that some of you have been in the programme since the inception and you feel that you have reached the ceiling in terms of growth and want change, however, mobility is very limited.

For those who have developed themselves and improved their qualifications, some have looked for opportunities elsewhere in the public services and they occupy higher positions in other departments.

As CDWs you should not see your career path as limited to your department but you should see career opportunity in the broader public service.

We do have the National School of Government, which can assist with the development of a CDW training guide to assist institutions of higher learning in designing community development curricula appropriately. There are qualifications that has been developed with a number of institutions of Higher Learning and you must utilize such an opportunity.

These provincial engagements, in the lead up to the CDWP national conference, is providing a platform to commence debates on issues that are paramount to improving government efforts at providing quality services. It is important that we are engaging directly, and through these consultations we can be able to fully understand the challenges that our CDWs are facing so that we can bring in the necessary interventions.

We are going be with you throughout today’s programme, and we will listen to all of you, so that we can intervene in areas where you are facing challenges.

APRM

Today we are also here to brief you about the he upcoming African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) second generation review process, which will commence in the 2018/19 financial year.

In recognition of the imperatives of good governance for development, the Sixth Summit of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), held in March 2003 in Abuja, Nigeria, adopted the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The African Peer Review Mechanism is an instrument that is voluntarily acceded to by African Union (AU) Member States.

The mandate of the APRM is to ensure that the policies and practices of participating states conform to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance as contained in the 2003 Abuja Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.

The primary purpose of the APRM is to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration through sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful and best practices.

The overarching goal of the APRM is that all participating countries accelerate their progress towards adopting and implementing the NEPAD priorities and programmes, achieving the mutually agreed objectives and complying with best practices in each of the identified areas of governance and development. The Mechanism is unique both in its scope and breadth, with the review process extending to all levels of Government, Parliament and the Judiciary as well as the Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations.

South Africa will in this regard be reviewed to assess if the policies and practices conform to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance as contained in the 2003 Abuja Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.

The information about how we are performing as a country is also collected from the communities.

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.

I wish all of you good luck in your important role, and I hope you with be prepared for both the CDWP conference and the APRM second generation review process, both which will happen next year.

16 Day of activism

Ladies and gentlemen;

Two days ago we launched the 16 days of activism campaign for no violence against women and children. This year’s theme is “count me in: Together Moving a non-violent South African forward”

As government we have always used this period to spread the message of peace and harmony within our families and society. This year we urge all of you to be involved in fighting and exposing deeds of violence against women and children.

We must raise our children in a peaceful environment, wherein they are able to learn that violence is not a proper way of resolving differences.

All of you must join hands in condemning the killing of women children in the country.

We call on all of you the CDW’s to lead this campain in your communities.

Our leaders such as traditional leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, and teachers, must be able to identify situations wherein women and children are being abused, and report such acts to relevant authorities. As government we are always committed to make our communities safe, and we have put in place several legislations that specifically deals with violence against women and children.

As representatives of government in your communities, you must familiarize yourselves with the laws our country. E.g. The Domestic Violence Act of 1998, Criminal Law Amendment Act (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act of 2007, and the Protection from Harassment Act of 20111. We also have the Children’s Act of 2005, and the Children’s Amendment Act, which is aimed at, amongst other things, to protect children from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.

These laws must be utilised to protect our children and women from abuse and violence.

World aids day

As community development workers, you must be active in intensifying community education and awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and other health related matters. As we move towards World Aids Day, we are reminded of the crucial role that our CDWs continues to play in educating our people, and in supporting those who are affected by the effects of Aids within their communities. CDWs must be equipped with information in order to help members of the community who are in need of assistance.

In Conclusion;

These provincial engagements, in the lead up to the CDWP national conference, is providing a platform to commence debates on issues that are paramount to improving government efforts at providing quality services. It is important that we are engaging directly, and through these consultations we can be able to fully understand the challenges that our CDWs are facing so that we can bring in the necessary interventions.

We are going be with you throughout today’s programme, and we will listen to all of you, so that we can intervene in areas where you are facing challenges.

I thank you!


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