20 August 1999 Ballito
Councillor Bonny Maraj, Mayor of Dolphin Council
Deputy Judge President Shabalala of Kwazulu Natal Mr. Dawie Bosman of ABSA BANK
Mr. Barry Walton, General Manager of SAUR Services International
Councillors of the Dolphin Coast Municipality
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured to be here today and to receive the freedom of the Borough of Dolphin Coast.
I have been told that this municipality comprises of a number of towns: the coastal towns of Zimbali, Ballito, Chaka’s Rock, Salt Rock, Sheffield Beach, Tinley Manor; and the inland towns of Umhlali Village, Shaka’s Kraal, Shaka’s Head, Nkobongo and Etete.
In the coming together of these towns whose very names indicate the rich, cultural diversity of our country and bear testimony to the history of our land, I believe you are moving towards truly integrated development.
In this way, your efforts to unite these towns also represents a move away from the separate areas and mentalities of the past towards a united future of one nation based on shared interests in mutual concerns.
Through your programmes, your embrace the development agenda of our government and your actions set in motion the policies we have worked out for the transformation of local government, so that that we move away from the old, divided, unequal, discriminatory, hierarchical and uncaring system of local government to one that is democratic, unified, responsive and responsible.
Our actions, as local government, should make an invaluable contribution to the important task of creating a humane society and a humane city, which is bound by common concerns, needs, aspirations and responsibilities. A humane city where the local authorities work selflessly for the betterment of local communities. where they fully understand that their responsibilities are to the people, and they are, every step of the way, accountable, sensitive and responsive to the problems of the people.
I believe that these new local authorities must bring into being a new kind of councillor – whose commitment and ethics should be strengthened in the present phase of our development which requires of us to move forward faster in our efforts of forging a caring nation.
This kind of councillor is continuously engaged in developing strategies, plans, actions, that will ensure that the humane society we are talking about is not just something in the distant horizon, but becomes an immediate and vibrant reality.
This kind of councillor can fulfil this role only if he or she adopts a particular modus operandi which has clearly-defined performance criteria, performance milestones, and the manner in which there is a collective audit of the work done so as to ensure that we do not lose track of our main objective, which is the creation of a humane city. In other words, we require of councillors to be self-reflective, to be engaged in honest introspection about their work, their successes and failures, and what needs to be done.
The councillor we are talking about is the one who will listen to the views of the community and involve the people as partners in the transformation process. This councillor will not be afraid to debate issues, however difficult, with the community, so that what the council does will be seen by the community as something that also belongs to them. In this way, all of us will have a sense of collective participation, collective ownership and collective responsibility.
This councillor will also be proactive and not only engage the community when there is a crisis, for if our council is crisis-driven, we will be caught in a cycle of conflict and disarray.
We are talking about a councillor who empowers the community, works our programmes for skills development, and overall in partnership with the people improves the quality of life of each and every member of this humane city we are trying to build.
I am happy to see that this municipality has a number of reconstruction and development programmes aimed at delivery and improvement of the quality of services and infrastructure.
Your municipality is involved in a public-private partnership aimed at the operation, maintenance, management and investment necessary to expand water and sanitation throughout the area of your jurisdiction. Naturally, since this is a new venture in the control and management of services, there will always be those among us who will be uncertain about the viability and benefit of such partnerships. We are confident that with the right commitment as well as the correct oversight on the part of the council, this venture, as well as similar ones elsewhere, has the potential of ensuring that our people have access to quality services.
I thank you for the freedom of the Dolphin Coast and wish you continued success in all your developmental projects.