3 months ago

Service - Leadership in Government - Issue 77

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  • Service delivery
  • South africa
  • Service
  • Employment
  • Youth
  • Unemployment
  • Leadership
  • Government
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  • Transition
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  • Salga
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September is a time of renewal. In this edition of Service, we look at what is about to be renewed, in the process of being renewed, and in need of renewal in South Africa.

S elections

S elections Guiding the Transition A special meeting of the South African Local Government Association focused on renewal in the runup to elections. SALGA President Councillor Thembi Nkadimeng called for practical plans for improvement in municipal performance as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) convened for special National Members Assembly (NMA) earlier this year. The hybrid two-day event brought together people from government, heads of Chapter 9 Institutions, civil society and the research community with a limited number of delegates attending in person. 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 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. Public sector workers and government officials need to obtain the requisite skills and qualifications to perform their duties and desist from corrupt practices. “As we are all aware, the local government elections were scheduled to take place towards the end of 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 4th term of democratic local government nears an end, the NMA assessed preparations for the upcoming local government elections and adopted a management and transition framework for the 5th term of democratic local government. “Our intention, therefore, commencing with this Special NMA, is to ensure the development SALGA 6 | Service magazine

elections S 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. ___ __ SALGA Chief Officer Municipal Finance Khomotso Letsatsi SALGA President Cllr Thembi Nkadimeng 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 Members (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 threetier 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. A critical reflection 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 asked, “What are we trying to do now? We’re transferring what we are good at, adopting municipalities. 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, but 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, recommended political parties to improve their candidate selection lists ahead of the municipal elections, where councils for all district, metropolitan and local municipalities in each of the country’s nine provinces will be elected. He argued that such mechanisms would sift the “opportunists” from the “real leaders”. “Political parties would have to distinguish the opportunities 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, emphasised the importance of SALGA’s Integrated Councillor Induction Programme, which caters for newly elected and returning councillors with the aim of improving professional practice and institutional capacity in local government. Service magazine | 7

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