Building a firmly cohesive council that prioritises and accelerates service delivery is one of the top items on the City of Joburg’ Speaker’s agenda.
Councillor Nonceba Molwele wants to painstakingly enable councillors from different parties to develop a sense of belonging, feel valued, and commit to organisational goals irrespective of political affiliation.
Cllr Molwele has noted that councillors have very little support in their respective regions and lack proper tools of trade to be efficient when serving residents of the City. “There is a need to support public representatives to enable them to be responsive to the needs of their communities,” she says.
The Municipal Structures Act defines the speaker’s role as that of ensuring oversight, accountability, integrity, discipline of office, and the efficient running of council meetings. Although the speaker is in charge of the legislative arm of council and is accountable to it, she needs to perform her duties independently from the executive.
Cllr Molwele says part of the priorities of her office is to educate residents about processes of council and to bridge the gap between the municipality and residents. “When the government doesn’t consult adequately or consults only to achieve compliance, it has effectively broken its contract with the very people it’s supposed to serve,” she adds.
Cllr Molwele notes that during her regular community engagements with residents, one concern that most people raise is the slow pace of service delivery and the rising tide of youth unemployment.
“As the City, we must come up with strategies to address youth unemployment because young people are losing hope. We need to also strengthen existing skills’ programmes to accommodate and upscale young people,” she explains.
There’s also a need to ensure ward committees are functional and serve their intended purpose, Molwele adds.
“This will ensure that the municipality’s programmes are in tune with the needs of the community. It should never happen that the municipality prioritises a community hall while the immediate need is a clinic.”
Cllr Molwele also wants to increase public participation in all municipal programmes, including the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), ward committee meetings and community-based planning sessions. “Once we get this right, service delivery will be effective and efficient,” she says.
IDP consultations are designed to collate public inputs and assist the City align its planning and budgeting processes with the needs of residents. Molwele encourages councillors to be responsive and accountable to their constituents.
In addition, the Speaker wants to make sure her voice is heard on issues of gender-based violence.
Written by Takalani Sioga