The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly,
The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces,
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Des van Rooyen,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Premiers, MECs, Mayors and Members of Parliament,
President of SALGA, Cllr Parks Tau,
Fellow South Africans,
It is a great honour and a welcome opportunity to deliver the closing remarks at this 3rd Presidential Local Government Summit.
This summit is about the future of our country.
It is about the unity of our people.
It is about the progress we still need to make to end poverty and build a prosperous, equitable and just society.
This summit is about giving effect to the solemn promise we made on the 3rd of August last year to serve the people of this country with distinction and determination.
The deliberations of the last two days provide strategic direction to this new term of local government.
This action plan flowing from this summit will guide the way for all three spheres of government, associated institutions and external partners to work together to advance further the Back-to-Basics programme.
The action plan reflects our shared aspirations and our common determination to make local government an instrument of revolutionary change.
It may not immediately appear so, but we are engaged here in a revolutionary undertaking.
The theme of this summit � Transforming Municipal Spaces for Radical Social and Economic Development � is at its essence about overcoming the devastating legacy of apartheid, colonialism and segregation.
It is about fundamentally changing our cities, towns and rural areas.
It is about fundamentally changing our society.
This summit is an opportunity to review, refine and enhance the mechanics of this revolutionary transformation.
That requires, as you have agreed, that we better support and deepen the Back-to-Basics programme to enhance the capabilities of developmental local government.
It requires that we be seized with the critical issues of how collectively we can work together to build resilient communities to avoid and reduce the impact of climate change and disasters.
It requires, as you have done, that we address spatial dislocation and inequality, which continue to severely limit the potential of our people and hinder inclusive development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we work to overcome the dreadful legacy of colonialism and apartheid, we must confront the enormity of the developmental challenges and the severe resource constraints we are facing.
This requires of all our spheres of government to work together more effectively and efficiently towards the goals of the National Development Plan.
The NDP calls for a fundamental reshaping of our colonial and apartheid geography.
It states that by 2030, the state should have made meaningful progress in reviving rural areas and in creating more functionally integrated, balanced and vibrant urban settlements.
To reverse the legacies of the spatial injustices of the past, we must do more to halt the perpetuation of urban sprawl and poorly integrated development.
Your deliberations on how the state can work as an intergovernmental collective must guide all our programmes.
They must filter through to the broader governmental system.
We can say with confidence that the Back-to-Basics programme is positively changing the way our municipalities operate.
There is an improvement in how municipalities interact with the public and respond to the needs of communities.
The capabilities of municipal staff are being improved through training and skills transfer.
Municipalities are taking action to improve their performance in areas such as financial management and human resources.
Each day, the delivery of electricity, water, sanitation and transport is improving.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are a nation that confronts challenges together.
We make progress through dialogue, mutual respect and consensus.
By involving everyone in finding solutions we inspire hope and build trust.
It is when we are honest, accountable and engage each other frankly that we are able to manage the tensions inherent in any human endeavour.
We know that we cannot defeat poverty, unemployment and inequality without commitment and decisive action from all sectors of society.
We have a duty to build and strengthen partnerships with civil society, labour, communities and business to create a better life for ordinary South Africans.
The participation of such a wide range of social partners at this Summit gives us a great deal of encouragement.
We must continue to collaborate beyond this summit to build well-located, integrated human settlements with all the amenities required for residents to live meaningful lives.
We must work together to expand economic opportunities near where our people live.
We have a mandate from South Africans to overcome persistent backlogs and inequities in service delivery through improved intergovernmental planning and budgeting processes.
Working together, we need to be more diligent in renewing and maintaining infrastructure.
This summit has underscored the importance of integrated spatial planning for a region, municipal space or metro.
It has highlighted the importance of good planning also as an enabler for local economic development.
Stimulating local economies means getting the basics right.
It means consistent provision of water, electricity, good roads and efficient, affordable public transport.
It requires innovative thinking to unlock the capabilities of our communities.
It means forming partnerships with business, organised labour and civil society to mobilise resources and ensure collaboration.
It means finding creative ways of removing the barriers that were created by apartheid and which stifle initiative, cooperation and efficient resource use.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let us go forward together from this Summit and build a truly developmental local government system.
We have no doubt that the deliberations at this Summit � and the actions that will flow from here � will once again show that we have it in us to build consensus, to find solutions and to succeed.
We have achieved much in the last two decades.
Let us work together to achieve even more.
We have made a solemn commitment to serve the people.
All of us � in every sphere of government, in every arm of the state � have made a solemn commitment to dedicate our every capability, our every resource, our every effort to improving the lives of the poor.
We have made a solemn commitment to manage public resources with care, to deploy them effectively and to diligently safeguard them.
We have made a solemn commitment not to place our personal interests ahead of the interests of the people.
As this summit draws to a close, let us remind ourselves of the solemn commitments we have made, and pledge ourselves to ceaselessly strive to honour these commitments.
Our work is not yet done.
Our revolution remains unfinished.
Therefore, let us leave this summit determined not to rest until we have built the kind of communities that our people so deeply desire and deserve.
I thank you.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa