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Public Participation through Ward Committees – Have Your Say!

Public participation is a vital part of our democracy, and allows for citizens to get involved in how their communities are governed. At local government level the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998, requires amongst others municipalities to develop mechanisms to consult communities and community organisations in performing their functions and exercising its powers.

These structures are commonly known as Ward Committees, and provide a vital link between Ward Councillors, the community and the municipality. They allow for members of communities to influence municipal planning in a manner which best addresses their needs.

The ward committees were established to help improve communication between local municipalities and communities. They play an important role in being a link between the community’s needs and the municipal planning processes. Members who serve on these committees are thus well placed to ensure that resources are allocated to the most pressing needs with communities.

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Ward committees participate in determining core municipal processes such as Integrated Development Planning, municipal budgeting and municipal performance management.

Ward committees help make sure that financial transfers from national government are used for the purposes they are intended for, such as ensuring that poor people get basic services.

In the coming months Ward Committees will be elected to serve their communities, and we encourage citizens to make themselves available to serve on these. Our democracy is made stronger when South Africans are involved and actively hold government to account.