President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on municipalities to prepare for and remove obstacles to investment.
“Whether it’s a factory or a mine, a call centre or a shop, every investment is located in a municipality.
“There needs to be effective coordination between municipalities and provincial and national government bodies to remove obstacles to investment,” said the President.
The President made the call during his address at the National Council Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday as part of its Taking Parliament to the People programme.
The programme aims to give communities first-hand experience of how parliamentary procedures work and to demonstrate accountability in action.
The week-long Taking Parliament to the People in Gauteng kicked off on Monday and entailed public participation hearings on the state of Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Health, Education, Security and Economic Development in the province.
Community members in attendance raised challenges on poor service delivery, long queues at clinics and the early closure of health facilities.
Reflecting on the challenges faced by communities, President Ramaphosa expressed concern on service delivery protests becoming increasingly violent.
Municipal IQ, an organisation that monitors local government, noted earlier this year that 94% of the service delivery protests recorded so far in 2018 involved elements of violence.
In response to this, President Ramaphosa said in light of the rise in protests, it is necessary that government owns up to its failings.
“We are not meeting the expectations of our citizens.
“What is most unacceptable is that some of our people have become resigned, so accustomed to poor levels of service delivery, that they believe that the abnormal is normal,” said the President.
Acknowledging that local government is the first point of call for residents, the President called for improved efficiencies at municipalities.
“Despite improvements in some areas, the vast majority of our municipalities continue to achieve poor audit results.
“This points to a lack of compliance and internal controls, and, in some cases, the outright abuse of state funds,” said the President.
Building the economy
On the economy, President Ramaphosa said the sluggish economy has affected the country’s ability to create much needed jobs.
“Getting our people working and providing a favourable economic climate for jobs to be created and sustained is the greatest task of the present,” he said.
To address this challenge, President Ramaphosa assured residents that through the recently announced economic recovery measures and policy reforms, the country is turning the tide.
Highlighting initiatives that government has undertaken to tackle the economy and unemployment, President Ramaphosa noted the Jobs Summit, which culminated in a framework agreement that aims to create around 275 000 jobs annually.
President Ramaphosa also noted the South Africa Investment Conference and the Africa Investment Forum, which form part of government’s ambitious drive to raise $100 billions worth of investment.
In concluding his address to the fifth parliament, President Ramaphosa urged the NCOP to conclude and resolve the unfinished business raised by communities during this year’s Parliament to the People.
“Although we may have political differences, we share a common sense of purpose and have a common duty to serve our people.
“It is when we work together – as different parties, as different spheres of government, as different sectors of society – that we make the greatest progress in transforming our society and building a new nation,” said the President. - SAnews.gov.za