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Govt makes strides in improving lives of poor
by Nthambeleni Gabara
SAnews.gov.za Translate This Article
10 September 2012
Midrand - President Jacob Zuma says government has made substantial progress in improving service delivery to the poor, especially the poor who were marginalised in the past.
President Zuma was addressing delegates at a two-day special national conference of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in Midrand on Monday.
'We have made substantial progress in improving service delivery and extending services to our people, especially the poor who were marginalised in the past.
'The reality of apartheid is that large parts of the country had never had any form of local government and as a result, the backlogs are still glaring,' he said.
President Zuma said all the three spheres of government, especially local government, had to work harder to improve the living conditions in provinces that historically had Bantustans.
These are the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, North-West, Free State and Mpumalanga. He said these provinces were still faced with serious delivery backlogs.
Zuma said government's vision was to create dignified human settlements for those who lived in de-humanising conditions before.
'These should be communities where residents have water, electricity, sanitation and roads as well as recreational facilities. It must be communities filled with the laughter of happy children.
'We are far from reaching our goal of the universal delivery of such services, but we have certainly made progress,' he said.
The President said in the past 18 years, a lot has been achieved which is a clear indication of further progress to be made.
He said the delivery of basic services began in earnest in 1994 and was continuing. 'Over two and half million houses have been built for the poor giving shelter to over ten million people.
'Six million households have gained access to clean water since 1994 and electricity has been connected to nearly five million homes,' he said.
According to President Zuma, municipalities have gone a long way towards eradicating the bucket toilet system in informal settlements, adding that the majority of people are provided with free basic services such as water and electricity.
SALGA chairperson Thabo Manyoni, who paid tribute to the 95 councilors from across the country, who died due to natural causes and violent attacks since the 2011 Local government elections, said 50 percent of municipalities received unqualified reports.
He also said where there was a good relationship between municipalities and the MEC responsible for local government, service delivery was more visible.
Manyoni said they have noted with concern the current consultation process led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on the Gauteng e-tolling system.
'As local government we are concerned that we remain excluded in the consultation process of the e-tolling system in Gauteng, however, we've since sent correspondence to the Deputy President's office so that we can be part of this consultation process,' he said.
Delegates from all municipalities are gathered to amend the SALGA constitution, evaluate progress made since their last conference held in August 2011, engage with the Auditor General's municipal audit outcome for 2010/2011and discuss matters related to service delivery.
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