The Constitution established local government as a distinctive sphere of government, interdependent and interrelated with national and provincial spheres of government. To this effect, since the year 2000 the democratic local government continued to deliver services to communities and has also put in place structures and system that have since been assisting this important sphere that is at the coalface of service delivery.
In this period, the attention of the world and the country is firmly on the 205 local municipalities across the country and the eight (8) Metropolitan municipalities. Once the local municipalities have been successfully constituted, then the forty-four (44) District municipalities are also expected to constitute themselves.
We are delighted that the municipal managers across the country are convening the first council meetings within the 14 days period which begun after the results were gazetted on 10 August 2016 as required by our laws. In addition to their roles, municipal managers are also handing over reports to the new councilors coming into office. This important processes signals the beginning of yet another term of the democratic local government, building on the foundation already laid in the last 15 years of successful local government.
The 4th term of the democratic local government is already taking shape and we are confident that in the coming weeks, new mayors and councillors will continue to be sworn in throughout the country. As government, we welcome all the new and returning councillors who will now form part of the term of the 4th democratic local government.
The councilors from various political parties carry the wishes and aspirations of the people on their shoulders for the next five years. These councilors have been entrusted by the voters to ensure the delivery of services across the country and thus giving effect to the idea and principle of a better life for all.
â€œIn welcoming you all (democratically elected Councillors), I urge you to remain true to the democratic tenants, principles and ethos of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa. I urge you to remain true to the mandate of this important sphere of our government as established in terms of our constitution as a distinctive sphere of government, interdependent, and interrelated with national and provincial spheresâ€, said Minister van Rooyen.
It is also important to note that the incoming councilors are duty bound to act within the constitutional parameters and the rules and regulations applicable to local government. Minister van Rooyen also wished councilors well and expressed confidence in them carrying out their duties having the best interests of communities they are serving at heart as they begin their term.
As CoGTA we remind councilors across the country that Back to Basics (B2B) programme remains the bedrock of providing services to our people. In line with the decision that we took when we adopted the B2B programme, our approach to work should across all spheres, especially at local level, reflect this approach which rests on five key pillars:
- Putting people first
- Good governance
- Sound Financial Management
- Delivering quality of services
- Building sound institutional and administrative capabilities to ensure that every municipality performs back to basic functions without compromise.
The conclusion of the 2016 Local Government Elections brought forth a new chapter in local government, hence the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) are working on the soon to be announced Councillor Induction Programme. This induction is in recognition of the fact that the local government environment is complex and dynamic, thus continuously changing, hence the importance of having both new and returning councillors attending that induction programme now at the commencement of the new term of office.
The induction program will enable councillors to quickly become familiar with how the council works, the â€˜rulesâ€™ under which a council operates and the complexities of the role. â€œMost importantly, the induction will also lay the foundation for a successful term in office for new councillors. To this effect, I urge and encourage all our councillors to attend and participate in this important training programmeâ€, said Minister van Rooyen.
We urge all the 257 municipalities to ensure that the 4th term is guided by the vision of a democratic and developmental local government, in which municipalities fulfil their constitutional obligations to ensure sustainable, effective and efficient municipal services, promote social and economic development, encourage a safe and healthy environment by creating environments and human settlements in which all our people can lead uplifted and dignified lives.
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