A new programme will ensure that new councillors are properly inducted, with the aim of improving service delivery across municipalities.
THE Councillor Induction Programme (CIP) is expected to help improve councillors’ skills and ability to delivery services.
The City's Chief odfStaff Elgina Ndhlovu represents the executive mayor Parks TauRepresenting the executive mayor: the City's Chief of Staff Elgina NdhlovuThe CIP was launched by the MEC for local government and housing, Humphrey Mmemezi, and the Gauteng chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (Salga), Khorombi Dau, at the Standard Bank head office in Johannesburg on 30 June.
At the launch were the provincial chairperson of the ANC, Paul Mashatile; the provincial deputy chairperson of the DA, Thomas Walters; chief Whips and the Speaker of the Gauteng legislature; members of the Salga provincial executive committee; the MEC for health; mayors, Speakers and chief Whips from all Gauteng municipalities; and members of the partnering companies.
Joburg’s chief of staff in the Office of the Mayor, Elgina Ndhlovu, represented Executive Mayor Parks Tau, who was in meetings about the City’s budget.
“Primarily, we are here to launch the CIP [for] the newly elected group of councillors. The induction will hopefully be an opportunity for much learning and interaction. The induction will also have a component of skills audit,” said Mmemezi.
New councillors and leaders were sworn in after the local government elections on 18 May.
Salga Gauteng will be rolling out its induction programme under the theme “Capacitating municipal leadership for improved service delivery” between 4 and 8 July in the 12 member municipalities in the province. It will be facilitated by 44 trainers.
Joburg’s programme for its 260 councillors will be conducted at the Birchwood Hotel.
Sessions will include discussions about: municipal finance, municipal planning, councillor support and mentorship programmes, co-operative governance, human settlements, and sanitation.
MEC for local government Humphrey MmemeziInduction is an opportunity for learning, says MEC Humphrey MmemeziPartners in the programme are the provincial local government and housing departments, Rural Maintenance and Standard Bank.
Dau said: “Salga conceptualises a national CIP to equip the entrants into the [governance] sphere with the necessary knowledge and skills. This provincial launch follows the national launch by our national office on 23 June at the Hyatt Hotel.”
More than a thousand councillors in Gauteng will be inducted; about 30 percent are returning councillors, and the remainder are new to office. “The programme is designed to effectively introduce the councillors to the local government environment. Once these leaders are aware of the environment, as Salga Gauteng, we intend rolling out the relevant accredited courses.”
Mmemezi said the delivery of services required that councillors had a substantive understanding of the frameworks that shaped decision-making within the formal structures of municipalities.
The launch signified the beginning of a structured series of long-term, intensive, portfolio-based capacity building initiatives by Salga and its partners.
The purpose of the CIP is to give councillors a common understanding of the tasks ahead, provide information and updates on legislative roles and responsibilities, teach them about policies and procedures and give them the necessary tools to perform their functions effectively.
Mmemezi said that in the past, councillors had struggled with fulfilling their mandates, as it took time for them to understand delivery in a formal municipal environment.
“In the absence of a clear and well-developed induction programme, they relied on learning as work unfolded. While on-the-job learning is still necessary, the induction programme provides an immense opportunity to close the knowledge gap and hence speed up the service delivery process.
“As government, we have noted that there is a gap between people’s aspirations and actual delivery. It is for this reason that we have decided on implementing this induction programme. Councillors are rooted in communities but have limited guidance on the formal institutions through which delivery becomes real for our people.”
DauSalga chairperson Khorombi DauThe induction was absolutely necessary, but not sufficient. “More must be done and the province is committed to ensuring that adequate accredited training in all portfolios and required specialised areas occurs.”
The courses offered in the induction programme are accredited and will benefit the councillors. They will acquire skills that are regarded as scarce and critical.
Mmemezi encouraged new councillors to emulate the good work of their predecessors who had shown a marked improvement in their financial statements as reflected by the recent opinions of the auditor-general.
About 10 of the 15 municipalities in the province had received unqualified audit opinions. It was imperative that they did not relapse, given the beginning of performance auditing. “We need to raise the bar for greater achievements and move from unqualified to clean audits,” he said.
The outcome of the induction sessions were expected to include confidence in governance, increase in investment and development, growth in employment, rise in profitability, increase in government revenue, increase in spending, and political stability.
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