Item 1499 - Port Elizabeth Metropole March 2001

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ZA COM MR-S-1499

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Port Elizabeth Metropole March 2001

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  • 2001-03-21 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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TRANSCRIPT

It is a great honour to be present at this inauguration of a metropole that you have so graciously chosen to name after us.

I thank you for the honour and for the invitation to be present here this afternoon. We are aware that you have an extensive programme to celebrate this important occasion, and we sincerely regret that we cannot share in more of that programme. We are, however, delighted to have this opportunity of celebrating with the people of a region that is close to our hearts.

This area has suffered severely under the effects of economic recession and deserves all the opportunities for renewed growth and social development. The metropolitan government is a central organ for directing and stimulating growth and development. The responsibility you formally assume today with your inauguration is enormous; but then, so are the opportunities presented by this new form of consolidated local governance.

The central mandate of the government that came to office with our two democratic elections was to create a better life for all and particularly for the poor and marginalised.

What lies at the heart of our changed order is not so much that opportunities for office and power had been created for new faces. What distinguishes our new dispensation is that the concerns of all the people, and not only those of a minority, now constitute the agenda of public life.

Budgets - whether at national, provincial or local level - are geared towards meeting the needs of all of our citizenry, with a primary emphasis on the poor and the historically neglected.

Policies are developed in the first place to alleviate poverty, to promote equality and to bring conditions of dignity to the lives of all.

Measures for implementation are directed to bring basic social services to the majority that has so long been denied these simple conditions of a decent life.

It is at the level of local government that democracy truly expresses itself in face to face interaction between those that govern and those governed.

It is at this level that those who govern are most starkly reminded that it is not primarily a question of the people being governed by them, but that through them that the people govern.

It is at this level that those in office are reminded that being in office does not only mean governing in a bureaucratic way; being in office, whether as elected representative or appointed official, means in the first instance to serve the people. It means, very concretely, to bring services to the people.

This region has a proud record in the struggle against apartheid. Some of the great heroes of our liberation struggle came from here and had conducted their struggles here in this region. The masses of the people in this area had been an inspiration to the rest of the country for the resilience and consistency with which they had resisted oppression and fought for freedom.

The masses of the people now deserve to feel and experience in their everyday lives the fruits of those changes for which they struggled and suffered. Given the limited resources we have as a country and the enormity of our needs, those changes in material conditions will not all at once occur overnight.

The manner in which you as elected representatives and appointed officials conduct yourselves as servants of the people will be determining how the people cope with the rate of change in their lives. If you are open and transparent; if you consult the people and take them into your confidence; if you act in ways that clearly demonstrate that you deal honestly and without corruption or self-enrichment with public resources - then the people will have patience, knowing that things are moving ahead.

Our people have a keen sense of democracy and good governance. They have an understanding and insight when things are explained to them. But they also demand, and have very right to demand, that their interests are seen to be paramount in the consideration and working of government, particularly at local government level.

We are confident that local government in this new metropole will be equal to the great task ahead; that they will honour the proud tradition of those that led in the liberation struggle in this region. We trust they shall be resolute in stamping out at root any form of corruption or mismanagement of public resources. We know that they shall strive towards the best practices of good governance and accountability, avoiding any form of arrogance towards the public or self-entitlement.

Given the history of political struggle here, we accept that they shall give a lead in uniting the people of their new city. It is easy to divide and cause dissension; the wise and inspired leaders are those that can keep people together and cause them to co-operate in spite of differences of background or opinion. We are confident of that kind of leadership emanating from you.

There are some positive signs about the economic regeneration of this area. One looks, for example, towards speedy progress with the Coega development. Once more, co-operative partnership is going to be key. Local and provincial government must work in close partnership with the private sector for the advancement of the common good of the region and its people.

There can be few things more damaging to a person's sense of dignity than not being able to work when one is desperately seeking to do so. Job creation stands at the heart of the process of bringing dignity to all. Government, labour, business and the broader community have to take hands and purposefully work together towards that end; destructive divisions should be put behind us as that goal is pursued.

Then I shall be even more proud to have this area of local governance called the Nelson Mandela Metropole.

I wish you well with the great work ahead and I congratulate you on this wonderful and historic day. May this metropole grow from strength to strength, creating a secure and prosperous environment in which all of its citizens can live in dignity.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 12/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata

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