Ladies and Gentlemen

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the newly elected public representatives of the Lejweleputswa District Municipality, I would like to thank all the residents of our municipality for their participation in the local government election on Monday, 1 November 2021, and also of the election and confidence that they have placed on all of us. This is a good sign in sustaining the future of representative democracy and accountability in our municipality and throughout South Africa. From the outset, I would like to start by recognising in the public gallery, the presence of my fellow comrades. I would like to thank and congratulate the IEC for the sterling and professional manner in which it organised and ran the local government elections. I trust that all the councillors in our municipality will join me in thanking the entire IEC leadership for the way in which the local government election processes were conducted. On that same breadth, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you Madam Speaker, on your election to this high office. Your election serves as proof of this Council’s collective confidence to entrust itself in your leadership and capabilities. Madam, Speaker, your office is an essential element of the system of democratic local governance and will provide a continuous link between the municipal council and the electorate throughout the next five (5) years of our term of office. Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate each and every member who has been elected as a member of this Council. I commit myself this morning on behalf of this Council collective that our achievements will never be measured by the quality of speeches we make, but by the vigour we put in our resolve to improve the lives of our communities. I can confirm that standing in front of this Council and the people of Lejweleputswa is not necessarily a moment to celebrate, but a moment to gather more strength and drive, in preparation to continue in our journey to deliver on our mandate of building better communities. I hope to see us working together and respecting one another as we fulfil our duties as ward and proportional representative Councillors respectively. I call upon all of us as fellow Councillors to serve our people with utmost humility and distinction. This unity should be based on the acknowledgement that local government is about the real issues that affect service delivery, but not divisions that are fuelled to score political points. It is only when we are united that we can build on our strategies to propel this municipality forward. We should find comfort in the wise words of Oliver Reginald (OR) Tambo, the former President General of the ANC when he conceded that “the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased. It can only be accepted”. Furthermore, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to my family, My children and siblings for their commitment and support over the years. Madam Speaker, during the election campaign, we crisscrossed this district - meeting, interacting, doing door-to-door and getting feedback from our people about service delivery and the conditions they live in. We listened and made commitments to them. We are therefore correct coming out of this highly contested election to proclaim that the people have spoken. Madam Speaker, the principles that will underpin our Strategy for the next five years will be as dictated in the 2021 Manifesto of the ANC. The Manifesto will be the main cornerstone of our developmental vision and stance. The commitments made in the Manifesto of the ANC in order to mitigate the challenges that continue to beset our municipality will be implemented to the latter. Within a month from now, we will convene an Intergovernmental Relations assembly to strengthen working relations with Local Municipalities. Our purpose is to build local municipalities where there is no capacity; to initiate economic development of the district; to plan land-use in the district; and to provide in the basic needs of people living in deprived areas. Madam Speaker, you should expect this fifth (5th) administration to focus very strongly and introduce measures and programmes to address issues of social exclusion and underdevelopment. Thus through our indigent subsidy policy we will continue to pay special attention to programmes that alleviate endemic poverty, widen the net of our expanded social package, address issues related to child-headed households, and people living with and affected by HIV and Aids. Madam Speaker, on the 25 November 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. We all have a role to play to promote a society that is free from GBV, and supports gender equality that upholds the human rights of women and girls of our country. “Those who stay at home when the battle begins and leave others to fight for a cause must be aware: because those who did not share the fight will share the defeat.” Today is the World AIDS Day commemoration. Each year on 1st December is an opportunity for every community to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and remember those who lost their lives to this epidemic. Madam Speaker, in closing I would like to indicate that the municipality will have to recognise that it cannot deal with the challenges it faces alone. It needs to find new ways of working across the traditional public-private divide and across boundaries that separate it from other institutions and government departments. In the next six (6) months the Executive Committee will undertake a process of translating our commitments into concrete plans of action. This will also be further reflected in the municipality’s Budget for the 2022/2023 financial year. I am confident Madam Speaker, that we will be up to this task and that we will not disappoint the trust placed in us by the people of our district. The time has come for the entire Council, its new Executive Committee, the Executive Management Team and each and every employee of the municipality to roll up their sleeves and dedicate themselves to the task at hand. As OR Tambo, said: “The future is bright. The end is glorious; it is peaceful.” I thank you.