KwaZulu-Natal, Friday 12 November 2020 – Dear Media Partner On 7 December 2020 South Africa will commemorate 20 years since the establishment of democratic local government amid growing challenges of deteriorating accountability that is affecting the financial health of municipalities, as well as service delivery and the maintenance of critical municipal infrastructure.
Even before the Covid-19 struck, most of South Africa’s local municipalities were withering on the vine, due to political in-fighting, as well as interference. In his last municipal audit outcome report, the Auditor-General of South Africa alluded to the fact that the number of municipalities in financial distress had grown as a result of them approving unfunded budgets, as well as lack of capacity building with the municipalities. There is also a growing lack of consequences for transgressions and irregularities.
How can affected residents accept the government’s shocking service delivery (or none) from the refuse collection, road maintenance, street lights, water, sanitation, and electricity to recreational facilities, parks, and beaches? What are the implications of continued dysfunctional municipalities as we head into the local government elections next year? What is the role of the citizens and how will your active participation help fix the troubled municipalities?
Members of the media are invited to join Democracy Development Program (DDP) in partnership with the Mail and Guardian and key civil society stakeholders in three-part half-day webinar sessions to engage and report on the following issues
Implications of citizens’ vote for 2021’s local elections for the survival of municipalities and their fiscal responsibilities
Critical participation from civil society, particularly NGOs – their role and responsibilities
Revived role of the municipalities in order to get out of debt spiral, recover revenue lost to corruption and maladministration
Challenges, opportunities, and reform – what do the future of municipalities look like
Guest panelists on the day include seasoned political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi, Kavisha Pillay from Corruption Watch, Extraordinary Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Leadership, at the Stellenbosch University Dr. Dirk Brand, Political analyst and Manager of the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria (UP) Bonolo Makgale, independent researcher Nobuhle Kunene, Director, Association of Social Engagement Facilitatory of Southern Africa (ASEFSA) Sthembiso Madlala, Qhamani Tshazi who is a Programme Officer for Sustainable Human Settlements at NGO Afesis-Coplan and Dr. Isaac Khambule, Lecturer at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)