The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday (28 February) debated the report on the Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) programme’s visit to the province of Gauteng in November 2018. Opening the debate, the Chairperson of the NCOP, Ms Thandi Modise, said the debate should be guided by the principle that “… it is in this House where evaluation and monitoring on issues of provincial interest in the national spheres of government should be discussed and resolved. If we fail as delegates to do so we will be failing the majority of South Africans who have put their trust in us”.
The November 2018 TPTTP visit, with the theme “Impact of migration: Deepening cooperative governance for accelerated service delivery and development”, found that the Gauteng provincial government has delivered infrastructure and basic services at an unprecedented scale, Ms Modise said.
However, Ms Modise cautioned that despite this great effort, population growth trends are putting a strain on service delivery, from some 7.8 million in 1996 to 14.7 million in 2018. “According to the 2018 mid-year population estimates released by Stats South Africa, the population of South Africa was estimated at 57,7 million as at 1 July 2018. While births and deaths are considered the main drivers of population change, migration continues to be significant, not only demographically but also politically, economically and socially.”
Population growth and urbanisation is contributing to the provinces’ challenges, Ms Modise said, in providing adequate public health and education. They contribute to urban poverty, food insecurity, growing city slums, crime, unemployment, housing provision, and the use of illicit drugs. Furthermore, population growth and urbanisation increase the pressure on natural resources, amenities and services.
An important topic of discussion between the NCOP and Gauteng residents during the TPTTP programme, was the position of migrants who come to South Africa from outside its borders.
Ms Modise cautioned that this debate on migration should not degenerate into xenophobic sentiments. Rather, migration should be viewed as a universal phenomenon, with social, political and economic implications.
Participating in the debate, the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Social Services, Ms Landulile Dlamini, urged NCOP delegates to work together to address the challenges identified during the TPTTP programme. “The NCOP needs to monitor progress made by the province on a regular basis so the people of Gauteng receive proper service delivery,” she said.
Gauteng achieved the highest percentage of “ideal clinics” across the country between 2015 and 2018, with 75% such clinics (281 out of 372). “That means Gauteng public health facilitates are clean, open on time, are well run, have reduced waiting times and high rates of medicine availability. 30 community health care centres in the province operate on a 24-hour basis,” Ms Dlamini said.
Also participating in the dabate on behalf of the South African Local Government Association (Salga), Mr Sello Mondlave said migration and urbanisation are major issues on the international economic, political and social landscape.
His assessment is that Gauteng communities are largely concerned with scant job opportunities, housing allocations, sanitation, clean water and access to efficient health facilities. Mr Mondlave also mentioned that easy access to drugs in the communities, “… shall destroy the future of our society”.
1 March 2019