There are many similarities between Pakistan and South Africa, and Joburg’s governance model provides food for thought, according to a visiting delegation.
A TEAM of nine delegates from Pakistan visited Joburg to get tips on governance models, with the study visit themed “Building support for models of local democracy within a federal system”. It was hosted by the Joburg Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (Jike).
Speaker of Council Constance BapelaSouth Africa and Pakistan have a great deal in common, says Speaker of Council Constance Bapela (Photo: Enoch Lehung)Various City officials gave presentations and several members of the mayoral committee were on hand to lend their expertise. Constance Bapela, the Speaker of council, welcomed the visitors to the city on 17 June: “I am particularly honoured to host you immediately after national Youth Day,” she said. “It displays our spirit of triumph over adversity.”
She felt that the two countries had a great deal in common. “Both South Africa and Pakistan are part of the Commonwealth, which speaks to the collective history of colonisation by the same country – Britain.”
Zmarak Khan, the minister for local government in Baluchistan, Pakistan, concurred. “Pakistan and South Africa share so much in common. This is why we are here, looking for ways to provide good service and delivery to our people.”
Elected local government had been looking into governance models, and this had led them to Johannesburg. City officials obliged by speaking about the role and mandate of the City, as well as about the governance model used.
Joburg’s deputy director of legal and compliance, Mbulelo Ruda, explained the role and mandate of the City. “The three spheres of government [national, provincial and local] are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated,” he said. “Local government is described as the ‘hands and feet’ of reconstruction, and national or provincial government may not compromise local government from carrying out duties.”
Rashid SeedatCSU director Rashid Seedat gives a presentationProvincial government, however, had a number of roles and responsibilities with respect to local government, Ruda said. These included strategic, fiscal, regulatory and intervention roles.
Separation of functions
The secretary of council, Tshepiso Nage, explained the governance model used by Johannesburg. “Since April 2006, City of Johannesburg governance has been premised on the separation of the municipal council’s legislative and executive functions and powers.
“This model is based on strengthening the role of council as legislature and to use council meetings as a platform for debates on issues concerning Johannesburg,” he said.
He also explained the flow of business and routing of matters. Municipal departments passed on business matters to members of the mayoral committee, who in turn handed them to the mayor. The leader of executive business then received them from the mayor, and passed them down to the Speaker of council, who handed them over to the programme committee, which tabled it for discussion in council meetings.
Rashid Seedat, the director of the City’s central strategy unit, added to these presentations by providing a history of Joburg and outlining the challenges and priorities on which the City was focusing.
“Apartheid caused widespread disparities/inequality at a local level, and it pushed poor people out the boundary,” he said. “What that did was create a single city divided politically, spatially and socio-economically … That is the legacy we have to deal with.”
Mbulelo RudaMbulelo Ruda explains the three spheres of governmentUnifying the city had been a slow process, beset with crises both institutional and financial, Seedat added. In 2001, officials managed to turn it around and make Joburg a more sustainable city.
Studies done by independent analysts revealed that the average Joburg household was satisfied with service delivery overall increased over time. He also explained that the City’s priorities for 2011 were addressing unemployment, housing, HIV/Aids, corruption and crime.
An area requiring attention, however, was transport. “It is a big problem that 37 percent of the population use private transport,” he said. “Public transport is not being used sufficiently.” However, the City was working towards changing that with systems such as Rea Vaya and the Gautrain.
There were other challenges, Seedat admitted: Joburg had a carbon-intense economy, acid mine drainage, waste management, changing environmental patterns and water issues.
Despite these, Joburg should not have a problem with the delivery of basic services in the next five years as the City was doing better than the rest of the country.
“In the future, Joburg will continue to lead as South Africa’s primary business city, a dynamic centre of production, innovation, trade and finance services,” he said. “It is a city of opportunity, where the benefits of balanced economic growth will be shared in a way that enables all to gain access to the ladder of prosperity.”
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