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Local Government leaders call for evidenced-based planning and policy making approach to avoid costly governance mistakes




Posted: 11 March 2019

SALGA President Cllr Parks Tau says the government has more chances of succeeding and proactively preventing problems if data-led research and monitoring becomes a centre of governance.

Speaking at the 2nd Annual SALGA Research Colloquium which is currently underway at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Cllr Tau says the policy-makers and governors could also take lessons from the Gauteng e-tolls system debacle.

“Delivering policy and public goods should be based on data as opposed to just subjective opinions, dogmatism and even functional politics. Evidence-based policy-making has more chances of succeeding if it prioritises wide-ranging consultation and co-creation of policies as evidenced by the debacle of the e-tolls in the Gauteng province,” says Cllr Tau.

“Local government and municipalities need to institutionalise research and monitoring by bringing on board research organisations and think-tanks. This will allow us to be proactive and not simply to be reactive in our response to structural challenges we are daily confronted with,” Cllr Tau says.

The two-day SALGA Research Colloquium is attended by municipal representatives, the academic community, researchers, sector departments, experts in local government and key stakeholders in the sector. Key to the agenda is various issues affecting local government such as spatial justice and land use management, critical evaluation of the local government equitable share and the evaluation of the role of municipalities in local economic development.

Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Andries Nel told the delegates that much progress has been made to deliver basic services to millions of South Africans, however, poverty and inequality continue to undermine government’s achievements. He said CoGTA will soon be reviewing the Wall-to-Wall model of municipalities and further unpack the one size fits all approach and improve oversight mechanism. Nel said in order to reverse apartheid spatial planning and to achieve spatial justice, affordable houses, land and transport are key.

SALGA CEO Xolile George said the White Paper on Local Government of 1998 posits a developmental government as a space for “leading and learning” because of the extremely rapid changes taking place at the global, regional, national and local level.

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