Sedibeng State of the District Address

Opening her flagship speech to the people of Sedibeng, Councillor (Cllr) Busi Modisakeng acknowledged the events of the 2019 General Elections and thanked everyone who voted by doing their democratic duty. “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the voters, they’ve once again understood that voting keeps nations and governmental systems working, mainly because the purpose of every government is to develop and implement various policies for the benefit of its citizens.

It has been encouraging to meet so many determined responsible citizens of different generations including exciting first-time voters who went all out to exercise their democratic right,” she said.

Cllr. Modisakeng congratulated the District’s former madam Speaker Melina Gomba and councillor Hoffman who are now members of Parliament. “We thank them for their service and contribution to the people. We wish them well for their new responsibilities to all South Africans and we say to our National and Provincial Members “don’t forget to priorities your people, to defeat triple challenges, and always be ready to serve with integrity and selflessness,” said the Mayor.

Local Economic Development

“Through our youth services in Sedibeng District, local municipalities in partnership with SETAs, we’ve provided several skills development through expanded public works programs, entrepreneurial skills thereby encouraging them to form corporatives, we are also intending to create a partnership with all our institutions of higher learning in the Vaal even beyond in order to provide more required skills to young people in line with industrial requirements for the purpose of job creation,” said Cllr Modisakeng.

The Youth scholar development programme initiative by the Department of Basic Education in partnership with Sedibeng licensing services has assisted 328 learners to test for their learners driving licences of which only 172 passed.

The Executive mayor recalled that two years ago, Sedibeng had a partnership with SANTAM to build, increase our capacity to deal with natural disasters such as flooding and fire related incidents.

“I am pleased to share with the community that our partnership until thus far has been fruitful. Working together with SANTAM we were able to:

* Train ninety-six (96) Early Childhood Development practitioners in basic Disaster Management, First Aid and Basic Fire Fighting courses.

* Installed one thousand (1000) smoke alarms for informal settlements in Lesedi (Ratanda and Kwa Zenzele)

* In Emfuleni Local Municipality, we have installed Smoke alarms in homes for the aged, disabled and for the blind.

* SANTAM have spent five hundred and thirty thousand, seven hundred eighty-two rands and fifty cents (R530 782.50) in training for our local Fire Fighting Services.

The programme has benefitted thirty (30) Fire Instructors, thirty (30) Fire Operations and forty (40) Confined space rescue.

* We continue to work with SANTAM in various programs such as Winter Awareness Campaigns, Commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Risk to name but a few,” said Cllr Modisakeng.

The mayor also said that in next financial year, the District will continue training and preparing communities together with SANTAM to be disaster ready.

According to Mayor Modisakeng, Sedibeng District Municipality has spent 29.4 % of its procurement on township economic revitalisation; and  designated groups befitted as follows from the R27 million rand-: Women – 17.75%, Youth – 24.02 %, People with disability – 0.44%.  

“We are looking forward to the next financial year to work with the People living with Disabilities Forum in order to open more opportunities for them in our local procurement. The next financial year, we will have procurement linked to the general expenses and contracted services with possible opportunities amounting to R96, 7 million,” said Cllr Modisakeng.

Job Creation

Lesedi Local Municipality will implement poverty alleviation programme, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) amounting to not less than one million rand (R1 000 000).

Heineken has decided to face market demand to invest in the forthcoming 3 years in Sedibeng by purchasing 30 hectares of land to farm barley; a 100 million euros will be allocated creating 1200 new jobs based on experience.

76 Learners have been recruited from in and around the Emfuleni region and are being trained in Food and Beverage Services, and 39 learners have been recruited in the Lesedi region and are being trained in Fast Food Services, as part of National Department of Tourism’s Hospitality Learnership programme. 35 Sedibeng Youth have entered a 3-year employment contract with the Gauteng Tourism Authority and are working as Tourism Safety and Information Officers at various tourism attractions in Sedibeng.  

The mayor also put much emphasis on ensuring that people with disabilities also access employment and business opportunities from Government. “We are looking forward to the next financial year to work with the People living with Disabilities Forum in order to open more opportunities for them in our local procurement,” she said.

Investment in the local agricultural economy

Mayor Modisakeng emphasized the need for investment in job creation initiatives. She highlighted key projects that will stimulate local investment in the district. She spoke of an ‘Agritropolis’ which means a metropolitan/city that has its backbone built on the agricultural economy.

The executive mayor said the Vereeniging Fresh Produce market is in a state of poor condition and has a limited impact on the economy of the area, however plans are in place to implement a mitigation strategy. Sedibeng has completed a feasibility study to upgrading the market and the project is now a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approved by the National Treasury.

Sedibeng’s Rich Heritage

The mayor said that the creative and arts sectors hold a huge potential for the local economy. She quoted President Ramaphosa when he said that the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are vital to building future skills in our country. Cllr Modisakeng said that the Arts must be included in these subjects and should spell (STEAM). She also recognized the Sedibeng Arts Forum.

“We are focused on developing our Mzansi Golden Economy for our communities and people – both nationally and globally by reinforcing the Arts, Culture and Heritage (ACH) Sector as an economic growth sector, and introduce programmes that contribute to large-scale employment.”

She also called for local historians , business and academia to assist in finalising plans for some of the district’s heritage treasures. These include the:

* Sharpeville declaration candidacy for the World Heritage Site;

* Witkop Blockhouse development

* Heritage Liberation Routes

* Mphatlalatsane Theatre

* Heritage Peace Garden Memorials and new declaration applications

* Boipatong Museum programmes

“In the next financial year (2019/20) – Boipatong Memorial and Youth Centre have been allocated two million five hundred and fifteen thousand (R2, 515, 000) and with 20 job opportunities for the community to ensure that the Monument plays its heritage and developmental role in Boipatong,” said the mayor.

Looking Forward

According to Cllr Busi Modisakeng, the next 25 years of South Africa’s democracy should be in a position to have created enough jobs, build skills and capture talents and honoured the cultural and political heritage in Sedibeng region. “The game changer and job creator for our region rest upon the creative and arts sector,” she said.

She has said that the district is negotiating with State to identify – Evaton, the oldest freehold township in South Africa as the home of the new national museum.

In the next financial year, the mayor projected a budget of over R96 million for procurement linked to the general expenses and contracted services. This is an opportunity for local firms to do business with the district.

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