Team consisting of NCOP Members, MPLs and SALGA executive visited Ilembe District.
NCOP week takes place in Ilembe and Ugu Districts
NCOP permanent delegates from KwaZulu-Natal were joined by their provincial counterparts when they visited Ilembe and Ugu Districts during the week of the 21st to the 24th July as part of their oversight work to monitor service delivery in the province. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is constitutionally mandated to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. This is done through participation in the national legislative process and by providing a national forum for consideration of issues affecting provinces.
The NCOP also plays a unique role in the promotion of the principles of cooperative government and intergovernmental relations. It ensures that the three spheres of government work together in performing their unique functions in terms of the Constitution and that in doing so, they do not encroach in each other’s area of competence. This ensures that synergy exists between the spheres on matters of concurrent competence. As part of the NCOP’s annual oversight plan, the KwaZulu-Natal permanent delegates in the NCOP together with Members of the KZN Legislature, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and Members of the Provincial Executive, SALGA representatives, and Municipalities met on the morning of the 21st of July in Durban for a briefing on municipal performance and also to outline a three-day oversight programme to Ilembe and Ugu Districts. The delegation led by Hon. Nzimande (Chief Whip of the NCOP) accompanied by Ilembe Municipal Executive met with KwaDukuza and Ndwedwe local municipalities during the overall visit, wherein Hon. Nzimande briefed the meeting about the programme of embarking on the provincial week. He informed the meeting that the provincial week was informed by a workshop that was held in 1998 whereby Legislatures expressed the need of finding space and time to interact with the provinces they represent, in a joint attempt to give expression to the spirit of the Constitution and co-operative governance of the local sphere in national government.
The visits themed “Advancing the developmental agenda of municipalities for a better life of our people ” has met with great appreciation by the communities and municipalities as it created a platform for ordinary citizens to voice out their concerns regarding service delivery issues and for municipalities to engage the national government directly on issues that needed intervention of national government. For example, National Department of Water and Sanitation has intervened in Ilembe District, as the whole district is faced with drought which has resulted in the death of 30 000 livestock, KZN agricultural production has plummeted and emerging farmers are now feeling the brunt. On the economic front, operations in the sugarcane industry have come to a halt and as a result many workers have been laid off while others are working few hours for less-than-normal pay. Dams are virtually empty.
A series of meetings and engagements were followed by site visits to inspect projects that were already underway and promised in the APPs of the Municipalities. The delegation well applauded the initiative by KwaDukuza Municipality to building government subsidy houses for low income workers. “This is indeed a good story to tell, to see our people living in such great conditions in accordance with their affordability and satisfaction. The dream of a better life for all is realised” said Hon. Gcabashe who is the Chair of Chairs in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature.
The delegation met with the community of Ndwedwe on the last day of the visit, where citizens were afforded an opportunity to speak for themselves.
On the last day of the visit the delegation met with the community of Ndwedwe the meeting that provided an opportunity for ordinary citizens interact directly with their representatives in raising concerns on how they want to be governed. As a way forward recommendations were raised pertaining, in particular, to drought. Both public and the delegation agreed on following undertakings to deal with shortages on water:
• To repair existing boreholes to produce water for domestic use
• To drill new boreholes to assist in the supply of water to affected communities
• To procure mobile water tanks for easy transportation of water to needy communities
• To develop medium and long term drought management plan
The issue of electricity/load-shedding was also on the table.
The NCOP will again visit Ilembe District in September to check on the progress made by municipalities on issues that needed special attention.