As part of supporting functional municipalities, young people have been exposed to opportunities that have given them practical experience, says Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The Minister said this when she tabled the department’s budget vote during a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
She said as part of the municipal support and intervention package during the past financial year, 50 civil engineers, 15 electric engineers, 15 town planners and nine assistant provincial managers from the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) were deployed to various provinces across the country.
“These professionals are supporting various infrastructure projects and are supported by the 519 municipal officials who were trained by the MISA in the past financial year in infrastructure management,” she said.
She said a total of 382 young people were supported through technical skills, apprenticeship, learnerships, graduate programmes and bursaries.
“This is complimented by assisting some 100 young graduates in practical experience so that they may complete their professional registration process.
“This is our contribution toward functional municipalities that promote the growth of our local economies.
“In further stimulating local economies, MISA has also trained 2800 municipal officials in labour intensive construction methods through the R50 million allocated by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme,” she said.
R157 million to address natural disasters
In addressing the effect of natural disasters over the past financial year – including the aftermath of tropical storm Elouise – the department allocated R157 million from the Municipal Disaster Relief Grant.
“The storms were accompanied by summer season rains which led to the displacement of 3200 poor people in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo.”
Dlamini Zuma also said that the department allocated R221 million to deal with the effects of the protracted droughts in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
“These resources complimented the efforts of provinces and municipalities to secure livestock, feed and improve water supply,” she said.
Drawing lessons from measures to combat COVID-19
She said government was also drawing lessons from the all of society approach that was adopted in combating COVID-19.
“Even though we have not entirely won the battle, we take this opportunity to once again salute you, the people of South Africa, who have heeded our calls and applied difficult safety measures.
“We must continue to apply the non-medical and preventative measures including masking, sanitising, maintaining social distancing and vaccination.”
She said such sacrifices have contributed to building resilience and minimising the cost and effects of COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, of course, the measures we have adopted are not always entirely understood and accepted by all.
“Consequently, we have had 109 court cases since 2020 March.
“So far, 92 of those cases have been finalised and only four of the orders were in favour of the applicants. It means that by and large, the courts and South Africans understood why we had to take such measures.”