The National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP’s) national Provincial Week programme started smoothly at the Polokwane city hall on Tuesday morning, in which the leader of the permanent delegates, Mr Tshitereke Matibe, said that delegates are in the province to get a clear mandate on pertinent issues that should be highlighted at the national level.

In his opening remarks, wherein he explained the purpose of the visit, Mr Matibe outlined four areas of focus: delivery of basic services, economic development, legislative imperatives and financial viability of the municipalities in Limpopo.

“We want to build local government that is people-centred and sustainable, and promise that we will carry the mandate obtained here into the NCOP,” said Mr Matibe.

The Premier of Limpopo, Mr Stanley Mathabatha, also talked about the challenges facing municipalities in the province, in which he said that infrastructure development is in huge backlog in light of the 2011 intervention by National Treasury to implement Section 100 (1)(b) of the Constitution. This, according to the Premier, has left many infrastructure projects half-finished and some at the initial stages for years.

“Infrastructure projects were suspended during the Section 100 intervention period and the executive had to start afresh in 2015, with a declining budget allocation from National Treasury,” said Premier Mathabatha.  

The permanent delegates are visiting the province for a week, but the Wednesday activities were suspended due to the joint sitting of the National Assembly and NCOP, which is convened by President Cyril Ramaphosa.  

The national Provincial Week takes place annually, but this will be the first one in the sixth Parliament, with the theme: Building Sustainable, Responsible and People-Centred Municipalities. 

The purpose of the week, among others, is to solicit provincial interests and ensure that permanent delegates to the NCOP keep abreast of developments, as well as service delivery challenges in Limpopo. The programme will include joint oversight visits with members of the legislature to some projects in order to get first-hand information about the delivery of services.

Justice Molafo
17 September 2019