The SALGA Western Cape Provincial Executive Committee, led by Chairperson Ald Donovan Joubert
Members of SALGA in the Western Cape
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
I first wish to thank you for inviting me to be part of this session. I stand before you today at the SALGA Provincial Members Assembly with immense pride and gratitude. As we gather here, we unite as representatives of our communities, advocates of progress, and champions of local governance. This assembly then showcases the power of collaboration and the determination to shape a better future for all those we serve.
Our country faces an array of challenges, but they are not impossible to deal with. As leaders in local government, we bear the responsibility to address these challenges head-on and strive for sustainable, inclusive development. Our success lies in our ability to listen to the voices of our constituents. The people we represent are not just numbers or statistics; they are the heart and soul of our nation. Therefore, it is our duty to engage with them, to understand their needs, and to actively involve them in the decision-making processes that will shape their lives.
In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, urbanization, and environmental challenges, we must remain adaptable and forward-thinking. We must be able to leverage innovation to modernize our cities, improve service delivery, and empower our citizens.
Fellow members, SALGA has always been a champion of good governance and ethical conduct. Let us continue to lead by example and hold ourselves to the highest standards of transparency and accountability. Our actions must inspire trust among our constituents and reaffirm their faith in democracy.
A LOOK INTO THE WESTERN CAPE
We are here in the Western Cape to work together to ensure that citizens of this province access basic services through ideal municipalities. The province has challenges, especially as they relate to local government, that requires all of us to come together in sessions like this and many others. Some of these challenges include:
DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT MODEL
We are here today as different spheres of government – however, we all have a common goal of ensuring that all South Africans have access to basic services. We have always been the first to acknowledge the challenges we face in the delivery of services and have now undertaken to implement the District Development Model (DDM) as a government planning and coordination mechanism that ensures improved integrated planning and service delivery across the three spheres of government. This operating model is our pursuit of the objects of local government and a mechanism of reigniting cooperative governance and enabling seamless intergovernmental relations to drive inclusive transformation in society. It, therefore, cannot be emphasised enough how the DDM, anchored in the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, is critical for policy implementation coherence and impact maximisation.
Fortunately, as a flagship programme, the DDM is making recognisable progress in being institutionalised across the three (3) spheres of government. Through the One Plans and One Budget, we initiated a quality assurance process aimed at assessing the quality of all submitted One Plans. The outcomes of the Quality Assurance process are meant to inform the review and updating of the One Plans across all district and metro spaces. Key findings that emerged from the quality assurance process highlighted a need to strengthen the shift towards collaborative, joint planning and strengthening the involvement of sector Departments, State-Owned Entities (SOEs) and private sector participation.
As part of the efforts to institutionalise the DDM, we recognise the importance of working collaboratively with all stakeholders. As CoGTA, we are pleased to see improved coordination and cooperation between the Offices of the Premier (OTPs), provincial CoGTAs and Traditional Leaders in the coordination of the institutionalisation and implementation of the DDM.
At the same time, in institutionalising the DDM, we recognise the importance of sincerely engaging and working collaboratively with the Institution of Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership. This is encouraging since it is meant to deal with the less-than-optimal relationship between traditional leaders and municipal councillors.
We look forward to working with all stakeholders, including members of those in the private sector to ensure that we give practical expression to integration, cooperation, coordination and effective service delivery which places the people at the centre of government.
DDM IN ACTION
Masodi Wastewater Treatment Works
We pride ourselves on work done in the unblocking of the Masodi Wastewater Treatment Works project in Mogalakwena in Waterberg, Limpopo. Since working together with all stakeholders as envisioned by the DDM, we have had the following positive results:
UPPER LIMITS OF SENIOR MANAGERS
As you all know, local government plays a pivotal role in shaping the lives of our citizens. It is at this level that public services are delivered, infrastructure is built, and policies are implemented to foster inclusive growth. Central to this success is the senior managers who lead our municipalities. They are entrusted with significant responsibilities, and their decisions can have far-reaching consequences on the well-being of our people.
However, it is crucial that we recognize the potential dangers of unchecked power and authority. The absence of upper limits on senior management positions may lead to various challenges that can undermine the principles of good governance.
Implementing upper limits must be done with thoughtfulness and care, taking into account the unique needs and challenges faced by different municipalities. The focus should be on creating an organizational structure that fosters meritocracy, transparency, and accountability while promoting a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
The Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers published its recommendations on 21 April 2023 recommending a 3.8% increase for all public office-bearers. Thus far, led by Minister Nkadimeng, we are in the process of consulting with SALGA and MECs responsible for local government with the view to finalising the upper limits for councillors for the 2021/2023 financial year. We have also requested an audience with the Commission to review the system of remuneration for councillors and traditional leaders.
On a similar matter, the Minister will be publishing revisions to the upper limits for the remuneration of senior managers for the 2022-2023 financial year. We have also been receiving requests for the waiver of remuneration for senior managers in municipalities due to the limitations of the present remuneration framework and where the remuneration of third-level managers encroaches on and even surpasses the remuneration paid to the senior managers.
While we issued Notices in 2014 in fulfilment of the Minister’s regulated powers, the implementation of the Notices revealed the following challenges:
We acknowledge these challenges and are implementing initiatives to resolve these. One of our key initiatives includes establishing a Working Group, as resolved by the Technical MinMEC, consisting of key stakeholders and Provincial CoGTAs/ DLG to look into the current remuneration framework for senior managers. The Working Group has finalised their assignment and submitted its draft notice to Technical MinMEC for consideration.
MUNICIPAL STAFF REGULATIONS
As representatives of our communities and stewards of public resources, it is our responsibility to ensure that the people we serve are treated with the utmost respect and that our municipalities operate with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.
Municipal Staff Regulations serve as the cornerstone of the relationship between the administration, its employees, and the citizens we are privileged to serve. These regulations are not merely a set of rules to be followed; they are a reflection of our commitment to fairness, equity, and ethical conduct in all our actions and decisions.
We are currently conducting 3-day training programmes for councillors throughout the country on the Local Government: Municipal Staff Regulations and Guidelines. The training programmes are in response to commitments made by the government to professionalise local public administration and build a capable local public administration and human resources.
The Regulations set sector-wide norms and standards for municipal staff systems and procedures for staff below the management echelon. The Regulations are central to the talent management function which aims at inter alia; dealing with municipal staff establishments, recruitment, selection and appointment, performance management, promotion, skills development, transfer of staff, and competency framework.
The regulations also form the basis for skills audit and development programmes while ensuring that all municipal staff members participate in the performance management system to maximise the ability of municipalities to achieve their objectives and improve the quality of life of their residents.
We expect this training programme to be concluded by the end of September 2023.
The conclusion of the 2016 local government elections (LGE) showed a marked increase in coalition politics within municipalities. Post the 2021 LGE, the number of hung councils increased significantly, bringing with it unprecedented governance and service delivery-related challenges within municipalities. Statistics show that the amount of hung councils increased from 24 in the year 2000 to 81 after the conclusion of the 2021 LGE. The high number of hung councils has highlighted the need for a framework to guide the formation and management of coalition councils.
This need arises from the fact coalition governments are characterised by:
DCoG has developed a draft LG: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill to deal with coalitions. The proposed amendments to the Municipal Structures Act cover the following key matters:
Whilst the proposed framework and amendments are not a closed list in itself, it provides a good foundation or springboard to initiate discussions with stakeholders and interested parties.
The envisaged discussions on the Framework will also provide further thoughts and ideas for consideration as we embark on this journey of legal reform on coalition governments within the municipal landscape.
On the same matter, the Presidency will be hosting a National Dialogue on Coalition of Governments as we have identified a need for a cohesive voice on coalition government based on:
As such, the Presidency has agreed that working with us and SALGA, political parties represented in Parliament and officially registered with the IEC, we should convene a dialogue to discuss and develop a coherent coalition framework and subsequently legislation. The objectives of the Dialogue will include: Emerging with a consensus on a framework that governs coalitions in the Republic of South Africa, at the national and local government levels; Appreciating existing domestic and global experiences on coalition governments and Developing a process towards the coalition framework and legislation.
As we move forward, we do so working as part of the DDM and commit to continue supporting SALGA. By doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to democratic values, good governance, and the principles of accountability and transparency.
We want to see a SALGA that continues to be a driving force for positive change, a unifying platform for local governments, and a guardian of the democratic ideals we hold dear. Together, let us continue to work hand in hand to build a prosperous nation.
I thank you