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14/10/2016: Joburg prepares for ward committee elections: 2016-2021 
Now that municipal elections are over and the induction of councilors is nearing completion, the City of Johannesburg is preparing for an equally important phase that of the establishment of ward committees.
A ward committee is a structure created to assist the democractically elected representative of a ward to carry out his or her mandate. It has no legal persona but serves as an advisory committee to support the ward councilor.

“Ward committees will work with ward councilors to ensure that public participation processes represent the full diversity of interests of that ward however the ward councilor remains at all times fully and solely accountable to Council, their political party and the community”, says Councilor Vasco Da Gama Speaker of Council.

Continuing Councilor Da Gama says, “Ward committee elections to elect new members will be held throughout Johannesburg from Saturday 28 January 2017 to Saturday 11 February 2017, we are starting with an extensive awareness campaign that is coupled to civic education about the establishment and role of ward committees so that we create the opportunity for interested residents to participate”.

Elections will be held under IEC supervision to ensure fairness and transparency. Nomination forms will be available from all municipal offices, facilities and City website from Tuesday 1 November 2016 until Friday 25 November 2016.

The Office of the Speaker will be raising community awareness of the forthcoming ward committee elections on radio, newspapers, city website, social media and pamphlet distribution. Residents are encouraged to participate in these elections to ensure that their concerns are adequately addressed at the relevant Council portfolio meeting.

Councilor Da Gama says, “Those residents who believe that they have the will and time to serve their community should avail themselves to be elected onto any portfolio of their interest”.
“We have an obligation to advance our democracy and encourage communities to become actively involved so that their communities in turn can evolve through active participation”.

Ward committees under the leadership of the ward councilor facilitate meaningful participation in the affairs of Council and resolution of residents’ problems over and above other stakeholder engagements.

Johannesburg has 135 wards and each ward has to elect ten members to represent various portfolios in a ward committee led by the ward councilor as the chairperson of:
• Housing
• Transport
• Public Safety (JMPD, EMS)
• Finance and Economic Development
• Infrastructure and Services (City Power, Joburg Water, Pikitup)
• Community Development 1(Sports, Culture and Youth)
• Community Development 2 (Women, Faith Based Groups, CBO and NGO’s)
• Environment
• Health
• Development Planning and Urban management

To stand as a Ward Committee Member, one has to meet the following requirements;
• Nominees must be registered voters of the ward and be motivated to work on the ward committee by working for a better life for their constituency
• May not work for the municipality
• May not be in arrears for rates/service charges for more than 3 months
• May not be elected if convicted of an offence and sent to prison without the option of a fine for a period of not less than 12 months after February 1997
• May not be elected if declared of unsound mind by a court

Ward Committee meetings are held once a month to discuss issues emanating from the community through the various sector representatives and to obtain feedback from the ward councilor on critical issues and decisions reached at Council.

The main function of a ward committee is to;
• Advise and make recommendations to ward councilors on matters and policy affecting the ward
• Assist the ward councilor to increase the participation of local residents in municipal decision-making, as they are a direct and unique link with the council;
• Are primarily community representatives of the local ward and not from a political party;
• Should be involved in matters such as the IDP process, municipal performance management, the annual budget, key activities and programmes as all these impact on local communities;
• Can support the ward councilor in dispute resolutions, providing information about municipal operations;
• Can monitor the performance of the municipality and raise issues of concern to the local Ward;
• Can help with community awareness campaigns e.g. waste, water and sewage, payment of fees and charges, as members know their local communities and their needs

“The establishment of appropriate structures and processes is fundamental for successful service delivery by local government”, says Councilor Da Gama.

Issued on behalf of the Speaker of Council, Councilor Vasco Da Gama

Virgil James
City of Joburg
082 467 9415
011 407 7226