The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is convening its Special National Members Assembly, which started on Wednesday 18 May 2016 and shall end on Friday 20 May 2016 at the Boardwalk Casino, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
SALGA is encouraged by the warm reception displayed by people of Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Metro, an affirmation that this is indeed “The Friendly City”.
SALGA has been much impressed by the work the Mayor and his team are doing to effect positive turnaround of the City to be responsive to the needs of its people, especially in the short period since the SALGA NEC customarily met with the leadership of the municipality when they had just been appointed to reflect on the challenges of the sector and support that SALGA and other partners could provide.
This year’s assembly comes on the eve of the 2016 municipal elections. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the role local government has played in the transforming local government, delivery of services, as well as the key challenges that the fourth term shall need to continue to address.
To that end, and being the last Members’ Assembly of this 3rd term of democratic local government, it is timely to reflect on the lessons learnt, as well as the work that has been and still needs to be done to ensure a smooth transition and usher in the next term through combining continuity of the good and fresh energy for change in the areas required.
In attendance at this assembly, among others, is Honourable Minister Des Van Rooyen, Deputy Ministers Hon. Nel and Hon. Bapela, Members of Parliament, Host Mayor Danny Jordaan, Traditional Leaders, the SALGA National Executive Committee, NCOP representatives of SALGA, former Chairpersons of SALGA, Mayors, Speakers, Whips, Councillors, Municipal Managers and Senior Management.
While local government, in democratic form, is now just over 15 years in practice, the transformation (amalgamation and consolidation) of municipalities and the establishment of new ones have all taken place at different stages, and some continue due to boundary redetermination every five years. It is unfortunate that some would have us believe that transforming more than 300 years of colonisation, marginalisation and underdevelopment in less than 15 years of democratic local government is a reasonable expectation.
The truth of the matter is that the exact stage of development which any given municipality finds itself in may differ vastly from that of its neighbour. It is worth reminding ourselves that maturation is not a linear process.
SALGA and CoGTA can today announce that the Back to Basics has been widely accepted by all stakeholders in government and positive results are already showing. This is a collective responsibility that requires collective action. Communities can help us to build better municipalities.
All South Africans should work with municipalities to ensure that facilities are maintained, are in good condition, and are being used appropriately. Vandalism and destruction of infrastructure deprives communities of services that can better their lives. Communities must stand together and protect their infrastructure and facilities. Responsible citizens must pay for municipal services. The participation of communities and individuals assists government in building strong and capable municipalities.
As we march towards the elections, let this NMA be a reflective and continuity orientated one so that we ensure readiness for the transition and uninterrupted delivery of quality services to our people. The assembly must thus ensure that all members leaving Nelson Mandela Bay at the end of the session are firstly equipped to navigate the transition well thus ensuring continuity of good governance and service delivery. Equally important is to ensure the readiness to receive the new leadership post elections, induct them, train them and ensure that they are ready to serve the communities they represent well.
SALGA remains at its members’ service!
Issued by: South African Local Government Association and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
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