Mokwakwaila - Congress of the People councillors will be reliable and incorruptible, party leader Mosiuoa Lekota said on Saturday.
"The time for change is here. We must bring that change about," Lekota said at Cope's manifesto launch held in Mokwakwaila in Limpopo.
"We must ardently search for honesty, integrity and humility in our politics. We need to identify leaders with vision and a deep commitment to our Constitution. Nothing else will help."
He said Cope would not tolerate any corruption and vowed to take harsh action against those guilty of it.
"We commit ourselves that our councillors will have regular meetings in those constituencies where the people voted them into power. If any of our councillors fail to do so, these lazy representatives will be summarily removed from office," Lekota said.
The party would ensure their councillors were trained to be efficient and responsive.
Here are some of the promises Cope has made during its manifesto launch:
Lekota said education was Cope's top priority and the best weapon to eradicate poverty.
"[In the] longer term we want to improve working conditions in the schools and review salaries to ensure that they reflect the importance of this role in building a skilled and educated nation where unemployment and skills shortages are minimised."
Cope promised to ensure schools had the necessary resources and functioned smoothly and that teachers were in class teaching. It would also assist in the smooth running of universities.
"Cope councillors will be very actively involved in the life of our schools," Lekota said.
- The youth and jobs
Lekota promised that Cope would tackle the unemployment crisis facing the youth in the towns and cities where it governed.
"Cope will create regular youth forums where our young people will be empowered as active citizens to voice their opinions and share their concerns and ideas with councillors and decision makers in government and business," he said.
"We will turn every town and city Cope governs into an economic hub. Every person should be given an opportunity to work and to be involved in business."
Cope would ensure that every township had a factory-style workshop where artisans could hire space, tools, power and buy materials to become economically active.
As access to the market improved, the tax base would broaden and in turn there would be better infrastructure, opportunities and social services.
In Cope-run municipalities residents would be encouraged to take part in police forums and have active street and block committees, said Lekota.
"Crime is an evil that must be attacked by everybody from all quarters."
He said all farming communities would also be supported by organising protection units and putting in place an effective communications system with the police and municipal authorities.
- Water and Sanitation
Lekota said municipalities had to employ people who were capable, competent and suitably qualified to ensure that supply, given limiting constraints, was maximised.
His party would ensure that dams and water infrastructure were properly managed.
"All citizens have a right to clean drinking water. They also have a right to see an end to the hated bucket system. We will work with communities to take the water and sanitation issue forward," he said.
Eradicating the bucket system would be a priority.
Each and every citizen should have a roof over their head. This was non-negotiable and living in shacks was the worst form of humiliation for any human being, Lekota said.
"Cope will fight to ensure that local government has a greater say in determining the quality, sizes and manner in which government-funded houses are built.
"Cope will allow the intended beneficiaries of RDP houses to actively contribute their ideas and to provide whatever additional support and money they can so that a better and bigger house can materialize to meet a family's housing needs," he said.
The party would also deal with overcrowding, and new spatial planning for cities, towns and rural areas.
"We can no longer allow the old apartheid townships to continue as before. The more things were meant to have changed, the more they have remained the same."
Cope would commit to bringing work closer to the people. There needed to be integration, not segregation, Lekota said.
- Community involvement in budgeting
"Cope undertakes to do something that no other party will dare to contemplate. We will strive to introduce a new model for budgeting," Lekota said.
This would involve community members identifying spending priorities and selecting budget delegates. Budget delegates would develop specific spending proposals for each ward, with help from experts; community members would vote on which proposals to fund; and municipalities would implement the most supported and rational proposals.
- Municipal development and trading companies
Lekota said Cope believed that every rand that could be spared in every town and city should be invested monthly in a municipal development and trading company.
"Money funds projects. More money will mean more projects and, therefore, more jobs," he said.
"If the people of a town or city work together, save together, invest together and create a development and trading company together, they will become more self-reliant."
Job creation came from investments.
There needed to be a healthy business climate in every town and city and people needed to be involved in business.