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SALGA hosts a Seminar to discuss Municipal Barometer as a Tool for Human Rights Realisation at Local Government


Posted: 31 May 2018


On the 29th of May 2018, SALGA and the HSRC co-hosted a discussion on the use of the Municipal Barometer as a tool for promoting and monitoring human rights. SALGA President Parks Tau delivered SALGA’s perspective of the Municipal Barometer, an online open data portal for local governance and development data. The core of the perspective is that Chapter Two of the Constitution clarifies that human rights place an obligation on the state to promote the attainment of socio-economic rights in a progressive way. The right to a dignified life includes the mandates served by local government; access to a quality of electricity, sanitation and water. Moreover, overcoming the legacy of apartheid requires that spatial planning be measured as cities tend to naturally evolve towards the exclusion of the poor and the marginalised. This evidence emerges from cities from all around the globe and is not purely a South African city problem.

Fundamental to the local government mandate is the participation of citizens in their own development. In a number of instances, local government is not promoting or facilitating the participation of the poor in their own development in the intended ways.

In many ways, the funding model for local government hinders the pursuit of equity in outcomes. Human and financial capital should match the proposed policy directions and the needs within communities as local government consistently only attracts 9% of the national budget and performs many of the development functions of the state.

Central to the pursuit of equity is the need to forward plan in cities to ensure that future needs are taken into account, particularly within the framework of the 4th and 5th industrial revolutions. Forward planning is based on data intelligence and overcoming the constraints on the reliance on historical data. Real time data and empirical evidence are required and pose challenges of their own; how do we collect and engage with real time data to effect the desired outcomes of equity?  Cities and local governments must be enabled to forward plan by using data, but this is only possible through the transfer of sufficient capital resources and relevant skills.


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