Raise Issues with Council
There are many different ways that councillors and the public can use to raise issues with council. Below are the most common ones: questions and requests.
Questions to Council
Questions asked by Councillors are a useful and easy way of monitoring council officials and getting reliable information about council policies and programmes. Questions may be submitted in writing or may be asked during a meeting. Like motions, written questions must be submitted 10 days before the council meeting so that the officials can have time to prepare the answers. Answers are often tabled at the meetings themselves. The exco chairperson can immediately answer a question verbally or can provide a reply in writing. Any councillor may ask a question about exco’s recommendations or decisions and any exco member may make immediate verbal replies. The public should approach ward councillors to ask questions on their behalf.
Requests are the easiest and simplest way to get information or to bring issues to the attention of officials. Councillors or members of the public should make requests directly to officials – make a phone call, write a letter, or visit an official and ask them to attend to something. Requests will only work when there is a policy and/or a by-law that says that what you are requesting should be done by the person you are making the request to. So, for example, if someone has a blocked water drain you can go to the relevant official and make a request to get it fixed. But if you want something new to be put into your ward and there is no policy on it then a request will not be sufficient.
Public Meetings and Forums
Local municipalities have to hold consultation meetings on a number of issues and should set up Integrated Development Planning forums to draw in civil society. Organisations should find out when meetings will be held and use them to take up important local issues. If a forum exists that deals with or affects your organisation’s area of work, approach the council and ask to join.
Use thisÂ municipality databaseÂ to contact your council.