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Opportunity Issue 98

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


LOCAL GOVERNMENT Guiding the transition A recent special meeting of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) focussed on renewal in the runup to elections. Credit: SALGA SALGA President Councillor Thembi Nkadimeng called for practical plans for improvement in municipal performance as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) convened for a special National Members Assembly (NMA) in May. The hybrid two-day event brought together people from government, heads of Chapter Nine institutions, civil society and the research community with a limited number of delegates attending in person at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. The event was held under the theme, “Guiding the Transition: An opportunity to renew as we usher in the 5th Term of Democratic and People-Centred Local Government.” The aim of improving service delivery was at the centre of deliberations. Councillor Nkadimeng (pictured) stressed that practical actions plans would strengthen municipal capacity and performance, which in turn will help improve service delivery outcomes over the next five years of local government. “As we are all aware, the local government elections are scheduled to take place towards the end of October this year. It has therefore become necessary to prepare for the transition that municipalities will experience before, during and post the elections,” Cllr Nkadimeng said. As the fourth term of democratic local government nears an end, the NMA assessed preparations for the upcoming local government elections on 27 October and adopted a management and transition framework for the fifth term of democratic local government. “Our intention is to ensure the development of a comprehensive programme of guidance and support, in response to potential challenges that may be faced by municipalities during the transition.” Cllr Nkadimeng also announced that the Statutory Affairs Committee of SALGA was tasked with the role of drafting governance and reputation management protocols that will guide the organisation’s handling of National Executive Committee (NEC) and Provincial Executive Commitee (PEC) members facing serious allegations of impropriety and unethical conduct. She added that the NMA would take these protocols a step closer to reality. Delivering the keynote address, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Amos Masondo pointed out that many countries across the globe and international institutions such as the United Nations (UN) regard South Africa as having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. He said South Africa’s constitution enjoys high acclaim for how it defines a constitutional democracy with a three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary. “Under our constitution, a municipality has the right to govern, on its initiative, the local government affairs of its community, subject to national and provincial legislation,” said Masondo. Panel discussions triggered an exchange of ideas, collaboration and engagement on a broad range of topics in the field of local government. Panel moderators Sakina Kamwendo and Clement Manyathela were tasked with the responsibility of keeping the conversations on track throughout the two-day event. 16 |

LOCAL GOVERNMENT A critical reflection on the fourth term of democratic local government During discussion on this topic, SALGA President Nkadimeng outlined the role of SALGA in supporting, promoting and improving local government in line with the organisation’s mandate. She honed in on SALGA’s efforts to improve the financial reporting quality and processes of their members’ municipalities across the country. After noting SALGA’s eight clean audits in a row she stated, “With the limited resources we have, we’ll adopt 10 municipalities per financial year, and take our expertise as SALGA to municipalities to assist. We can’t be bystanders when we realise that there’s a problem.” Masondo said that despite the numerous critical local governance challenges that needed immediate attention, local government has made meaningful progress in transforming the lives of the country’s black majority, who had been denied participation in political and economic life under apartheid. “People who are saying that there’s nothing at all that has been done are removed from reality. If you open a tap, there’s water, there’s electricity. There may be problems about supply and outages, there are roads, rubbish gets picked up regularly,” said Masondo “This is not to say that there are no problems, problems are there but we must not also deny the reality of things and progress that has been made since 1994.” Professor Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape (UWC), recommended political parties to improve their candidate selection lists ahead of the 27 October municipal elections, where councils for all district, metropolitan and local municipalities in each of the country’s nine provinces will be elected. “Political parties would have to distinguish the opportunists from the real leaders,” Prof De Visser said. “Political parties must ask themselves what should disqualify a person to run for election.” Lechesa Tsenoli, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), emphasised the importance of SALGA’s Integrated Councillor Induction Programme (ICIP), which caters for newly elected and returning councillors with the aim of improving professional practice and institutional capacity in local government. The state of readiness for the electoral transition Thabo Manyoni, chairperson of the Municipal _________________ “This Special NMA has witnessed an unprecedented and major convergence of views that is groundbreaking for local government. Despite the complexity of using this hybrid format of engagement, from a content perspective we all agree that we must not only adopt and embrace the Special NMA Declaration, but also take bold and proactive steps to implement and accelerate it.” ________________ Demarcation Board (MDB), briefed the NMA on the delimitation of the municipal wards in preparation of the 2021 municipal elections. Wards are delimited every five years in metropolitan and local municipalities for electoral purposes caused by changes in the number of registered voters as a result of migration and the enrolment of new voters on the voters’ roll. “On the 1st of December 2020, the MDB handed 4 468 ward boundaries to the IEC to prepare for the Local Government Elections in 2021,” said Manyoni. July 17-18 has been announced as the voter registration weekend for the local government elections taking place on 27 October. On these days, all 23 146 voting stations around the country will open from 8am to 5pm to assist new voters to register and existing voters to check and, where necessary, update their registration details. Managing the transition Nkosinathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, spoke about the transformation of South Africa’s heritage landscape. He emphasised that to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society, processes of removing the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid racism were important. He also spoke on how certain monuments, symbols, signs and statues in public spaces carried a history of oppression and tyranny and that it was important for South Africans to begin having conversations on what their role should be in a democratic dispensation. “Do we create a concentration camp of unwanted statues with a narrative or do we leave it to those who still value them to preserve them thus running a risk of reigniting old right-wing nationalism by privatising public property. Do we allow for a juxtaposition of these statues as it is the case in the Union Building where President Mandela is given prominence and centrality while Hertzog was moved to a less prominent space?” he asked. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), spoke about the feasibility of conducting free and fair elections in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. She emphasised that while the country was ready to hold elections in October, several other considerations, including the legal, socio-political, health and practical would also be assessed. Cllr Nkadimeng brought the NMA to a close, saying she was confident that the discussions emanating from the NMA would translate into actionable strategies to improve service delivery outcomes over the next five years of local government. | 17

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