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SALGA Readiness for the 4th Democratic Local Government term

Posted: 10 August 2016

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SALGA welcomes the declaration of the 2016 Local Government Elections, and further congratulates all the South African political parties which participated in these municipal elections, including the independent candidates.

SALGA welcomes all the new and returning councillors who will now form part of the 4th democratic local government term. The conclusion of the 2016 Local Government Elections brings forth a new journey to the local government sector. SALGA’s Governance Support Programme has a threefold Transition Management Strategy, consisting of the pre, during and post-election phases.

The post phase has commenced; and it is time to assure the nation that the sector, as led by SALGA, in partnership with the Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), the National Treasury (NT), the National School of Government (NSG) and the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) is on course to roll out support as envisaged by SALGA’s Transition Management Strategy.

As part of SALGA’s role to transform local government, so as to fulfil its developmental mandate, it is our responsibility to ensure that the newly elected councillors are equipped with a “general understanding” of their functions and responsibilities as soon as they are inaugurated within their respective Councils. This is in accordance to the commitment made during the last SALGA National Members Assembly held in Port Elizabeth on 18 - 20 May 2016, under the theme: “Ushering in the 4th term of democratic and people-centred local government – managing the transition”. That moment is upon us; and ours now is to inspire service delivery.

SALGA and its member municipalities set up well–resourced gender structures particularly; the SALGA Women’s Commission, the Women’s Caucus as Section 79 Committees and the gender focal points to drive gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in Local Government. We congratulate the SALGA Women’s Commission for spearheading the efforts towards a 50/50 campaign for the 2016 Local Government Elections.

While the number of women has increased in these local government elections, the ultimate goal is the amendment of legislation and policies pertinent to the gender equality debate, in particular, amendment of Electoral Act to establish a quota system, and provide mechanisms for non-compliance by political parties. This should be followed by further amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 1998, and the Local Government Municipal Electoral Act 2000, to embed the principal of 50/50 in our local government framework.

The Way forward - Integrated Councillor Induction Programme (ICIP)

On Wednesday, 03 August 2016, South Africa took part in the most closely fought elections ever since 1994. While the outcomes of the elections represent the will and voices of voters, culminating in the shift of power in a number of metros, the elections also signalled the robustness and maturing level of the country’s democracy.

In anticipation of the post-election phase, SALGA has revamped the generic Councillor Induction Programme (CIP) referred to as the Integrated Councillor Induction Programme (ICIP), which is due for delivery through the SALGA Centre for Leadership and Governance (SCLG).

The objectives of the Councillor Induction Programme are to ensure that the newly elected councillors are empowered with a “general understanding” of the following:

  • Leadership Roles;
  • Legislation that is applicable to Local Government;
  • Key Municipal Processes;
  • Developmental Local Government and Service Delivery.

The ICIP has been tailored to accommodate both newly elected and returning councillors. Newly elected councillors shall be subjected to attendance and participation in a five-day consecutive contact sessions, whereas, an online refresher induction training has been designed for returning councillors.

The rollout of the ICIP will be accompanied by a co-ordinated communication plan encompassing messages to inspire services delivery and confidence about the sector.

SALGA exists to steer the local government sector to deliver on its development mandate and inspire service delivery. The primary goal of SCLG is to transform municipal administrations into learning organisations, which are characterised by systematic problem solving, experimentation with new approaches, learning from own and past experiences, learning from the experiences and best practices of others and the quick and efficient transfer of knowledge.

The 4th democratic local government term follows the celebration of fifteen years of democratic and developmental local government. Local government has played a leading role in the delivery of services and restoration of human dignity and this will continue as part of entrenching the ‘Back to Basics’ programme.

Over the last twenty years, SALGA has consolidated itself as the representative of organised local government and contributed to the legislative framework of the local government sector as the White Paper on Local Government was being operationalized. Within the legislative framework of the Republic of South Africa, SALGA has effectively ensured that the interests of local government were factored into the legislative framework and amended legislation in areas relating to traffic management and water management. Labour stability in the local government sector has been created through multi-year wage agreements as SALGA exercised its mandate as an employer body, reducing the severity of the impact labour strikes had on the sector.

SALGA has effectively increased its influence and profiled the sector on international platforms and successfully hosted the United Cities and Local Government forum, presiding as the elected chair of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA). SALGA’s influence on the continent and in the region is on account of it being the most stable and most developed local government association.

 
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