The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, honourable Des van Rooyen welcomed the delegation from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which is on a two weeks study tour to South Africa.
“The visit by this delegation to our shores is not a mistake, it speaks to the success of our democratic local government in South Africa which is now over 16 years old and it continues to grow from strength to strength. Most importantly, we have just held another successful local government elections that further cemented the importance of this important sphere of our government”, said Minister van Rooyen.
South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have good relationship and they were one of the countries that opposed apartheid. This visit follows many other such study tours by other countries like Palestine, Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name but a few – to learn from our local government system.
The Delegation requested to learn more on the functioning of local government especially in areas of Municipal finance, municipal planning and across all spheres, integration of plans, coordination and the various legislations that govern the work of this important sphere.
Throughout the study tour, South Africa will assist the delegation to understand the evolution of the democratic local government and the structures and systems in place which will help the people of Pakistan to appreciate the significance of this sphere in order to service their communities better.
After breaking free from our apartheid past, South Africa established a local government system that is committed to delivering public services to all its citizens. South Africa had to adapt and learn quickly to ensure the success of this important system and sphere of government. A lot of work was undertaken to ensure that this system is both fully representative and responsive to the diverse needs of our communities.
This visit is also an opportune time for South Africa to reflect on its progress thus far and even learn from Pakistani experiences. The envisaged cross-pollination of ideas is important and the delegation will be interacting not only with government, but also NGOS, Academics, Finance experts and the range of stakeholders within the area of local government.
It is encouraging that since the Joint Commission was established post 1994 to strengthen relations and cooperation in a number of fields, local government is also taking shape and progress will surely be recorded.
The interaction between the delegation and practitioners in various areas will assist to strengthen relations between the two countries guided by the bi-national Commission.
The Minister van Rooyen wished the Pakistan delegation well in their endeavour to learn more and build a responsive and effective system of local government that is able to deliver services to its communities.
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