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‘We share the common goal of a better life for all’

From the desk of the president.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Image: GCIS

We have just finished the final voter registration weekend ahead of the local government elections on November 1.

As I met with residents in parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga over the weekend, what struck me most was the importance of local government being accessible, visible and above all, reachable. This is particularly important when service delivery challenges, disruptions or failures occur.

Citizens often complain that in the lead up to elections, ward councillors, candidates and officials are energetic, interacting with communities and listening to their concerns. However, once elections have passed, they either disappear or it becomes difficult to reach them.

A number of people in the communities I visited told me that municipalities are slow to attend to their problems, don’t keep communities updated about disruptions, and when services are cut off for non-payment, fail to inform them of their options in a manner or language they understand.

A case in point is that of electricity. This has become the foremost pressing issue for communities around the country.

Speaking to people in areas in Soweto, it was evident that anger and frustration over having their electricity cut-off could have been avoided had thoroughgoing interactions with communities been embarked upon around issues such as illegal electricity connections, the vandalisation of electricity substations and the benefits of a prepaid electricity system. Many people also felt that they were being unfairly penalised because of the non-payment of others.

Over the last 20 years, we have provided a set of free basic services to millions of poor and indigent families. But for services to be sustainable, it is necessary that residents pay for what they use above the free basic amount. What I found is that many communities were not aware of exactly how much free water and electricity is provided to poor households.

Following engagement with a number of community leaders on how the challenges that people face with regard to electricity can be resolved and how people can also work with municipalities and Eskom to resolve the problem, I found a profound level of understanding and willingness to pay for services that are utilised.

When people are deprived of the basic services without proper explanation of why this has happened or how it is being fixed, it erodes public confidence in local government. Sometimes people think that the only way to get the attention of those tasked with the provision of services is through violent protest.

The latest data from the Public Violence and Protest Monitor produced by the Institute for Security Studies shows that of the 585 water and sanitation service delivery protests recorded between January 2013 and April 2021, 65% turned violent. The study shows that good and regular communication between municipalities and communities around planned disruptions and when they will be resolved prevented violence in a number of cases.

Our Constitution says that in the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner, local government must be democratic and accountable.

This means that elected public representatives need to be out in communities, listening to their concerns and resolving their problems. A common refrain from communities, and something I heard again over the weekend, is that engagement with ward councillors starts off well, but diminishes steadily over time.

Accountable local government means maintaining a sustained public presence and an open door policy, not just when election time comes around. Services must be delivered and allocated budgets must be spent. When this does not happen as planned, elected officials must clearly explain why and show how and when problems will be fixed.

Democratic accountability extends to the conduct of citizens as well. During the weekend’s engagement with communities, I called on people not to undermine service delivery themselves by making illegal connections or damaging infrastructure.

Earlier this year, during Freedom Day celebrations, I said that communities must use their vote to deal with councillors with poor track records of meeting their promises.

It is at local government level where our commitment to advancing human rights is measured the most.

Water, electricity, sanitation, housing, education and health care are the things people need most to have a decent quality of life. Where local government fails to meet these needs, the impact is immediate and profound.

But when local government is efficient and well-run, it provides the foundation people need to improve their living standards and find opportunities.

Just as citizens should use their vote to improve their communities, I also wish to encourage those standing for election to listen to what people are saying about engaging with them more effectively and more often.

We share the common goal of a better life for all.

Regardless of which political party we support, belong to or are campaigning for, let us together work to rebuild trust and improve communication.

Let us agree that this election will not merely be about securing the most votes, but will be fundamentally about the people of South Africa and ensuring that their best interests are placed above all else.

COMMENTS   14

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More drivel from this useless apology for a president! All we learn from this is that Cyril is out of touch with reality.

NO Rammer !! You guys have a goal of only a better life for yourselves!!!

No mention of legacy issues of apartheid why not…??

That cheapskate racist card has been worn out and overstayed its welcome after well over a quarter of a century of its play by the incompetent and care less anc and eff!!

Here come the election promises … again.

Filtering the noise of the details and going back to the basics here. We connect to a purpose that unites our intent and drives us to deliver value in disciplined, smart ways which then results in our rewards, be it meeting our needs directly or by earning the currency to obtain those needs.
So, logic here is value = rewards but the catch is our intent has to be genuinely on the value, otherwise we’re secretly doing it for the rewards and then we will deteriorate value… which would result in less rewards, then we’ll have to chase more rewards…[insert enlightened scooby doo sound here if you wish].

Perhaps a (by now cliched) simplified and obvious example: Keeping delayed gratification in mind and placing myself in the shoes of one of these officials (objectively of course…).

Will I care so strongly about OUR purpose of [achieving a better life for all] and eg. refer my buddy to the fair tender process, knowing that the winner will be the one that most effectively resolves the problem, a step forward to a better society which I’m also living in and effects even my own quality of life in the long view. [insert enlightened scooby doo sound].

OR

Will I see that shiny new him and her merc deal for ME and my wife and organize with my buddy old pal. Actually maybe, I have enough mercs now, but hey, I’m comfortable here, so maybe I’ll just do enough to shut them up so I can keep my job and my title. Of course, I need to just undermine that bloke who thinks he’s the fairy godmother and always wants to do the right thing, bra’s interfering with MY comfort zone and aiming to steal MY promotion too.

Of course if you’ve been connected to purpose, given vision and measured on value, yet still choose to be a poison ivy, and there’s just too much risk in trying to help you apply your ’strengths’ differently, the best risk management approach here would be for you to be fired, lest you make the team crumble… but, guess we can’t tell others what to do…

Then again, you’d think all this simple logic would’ve snapped sometime over the ages but it seems to evade us still, from the bottom to the top – a phenomenon also referred to as ‘Stupidity’. Admittedly it’s hard to master when the rewards are in your face all day, but we should probably stop procrastinating and try a little harder, sometime.

Now I don’t want to have a fixed mindset of “Yah but that’s how it is okay cause my Ma and Pa told me so okay!” either.
So I’ll try give people the benefit of the doubt otherwise I’m getting caught in my own BS here.

Maybe this is a genuine attempt at transition and keeping in mind there would still be a bottleneck of issues to resolve. Hopefully we’ll also undermine the cause while dealing with the symptoms. Perhaps those who like undermining could apply themselves to doing it to constraints instead of people [insert enlightened scooby doo sound again]…

On the other-hand there are still elephants in the room that makes it seem like our intelligence is being insulted, looking at the amount of division being instigated instead of forward moving solutions to current issues – a tell tale sign of the self-serving, so perhaps maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism is in order.

The one thing more insidious than no purpose, is talking the talk and not walking the walk. Reminds me of one of those self-interested type billionaire’s theatrics in giving to charity – showing what a team player you are by passing the ball when you’re one of the ones that’s been digging holes and putting obstacles on the playing field in the first place by not taking care of your people who ironically are the ones who would’ve made you a trillionaire if they stood by you by choice (catch is it may have taken a few extra days of course and being a trillionaire can’t be your primary intent).

Good of the president to remind us of purpose, it’s a start to unite our ‘team’… but if this is not genuinely executed, it’ll breed yet more cynicism and division…

TL:DR – Meh…

What total drivel !!!

Totally edalsg, I get you… touché. What was I thinking going full on abstract there when it could’ve been a foolproof two-liner? It’s the 5G I tell you; they’re pinging me. Listen, thanks anyways for reading all that btw.

Yeah sure. That is why ANC ministers and cadres get annual “security upgrades” at their homes but school kids still drown in pit toilets in Limpopo.
Better life for all… Sure.

For the select few, “our time to eat” as the evil Myeni said.

Little did the world realise what they were doing when the insisted we hand a beautiful functioning country to a bunch of kids.

This was like someone ate alphabet soup then got diarrhea

Father Xmas wish list re -read out again ( same BS before every
election ) by the frog boiling chief of the devils.

End of comments.

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