After reviewing the 2021 Local Government Elections debriefing reports submitted by the municipal outreach field coordinators, we met as the district team to develop the calendar of Community Outreach activities for the upcoming year. The common element in the reports is that the community at large does not know what to make of the political dynamics in the area. Communities, it seems, only understand that the parties they vote for, either win or lose the election. The formation of coalitions and associated dynamics is not commonly understood by communities and the likelihood of joint or co-governance occurrences is not explained during campaigns. For them, the municipality is ruled by a political party that receives the most votes. For us, the case of Mtubatuba Local Municipality needs a broader political discourse that needs to be explored and analyzed through a thought lens – a session that informs the affected groups as well as improves our knowledge base as purveyors of civic education.
UMkhanyakude District consists of 4 local municipalities namely, Umhlabuyalingana (Manguzi), Jozini, Big 5 Hlabisa and Mtubatuba. The District Municipality sits in Mkuze. In 2016 LGE all municipalities did not obtain an outright win except for KZN 276 where IFP obtained 50+1. All political parties had a slight difference or shortage that could make them all win and rule thegovern the municipality. This then makes Local councils call for votes of no confidence motions and make changes in leadership now and again which then affects service delivery to the people and wastes a lot of time for people on the ground to get services.
In LGE 2021 at a glance overall IFP won the whole UMkhanyakude District when looking at the results however it’s not like that on the ground. As we speak UMkhanyakude district is led by ANC, Mtubatuba is constantly changing leadership which affects service delivery in communities.
The engagement in coalition politics enhanced our understanding of participatory democracy whilst citing Mtubatuba as a relatable case in point. The discussion was able to educate on clean governance and how voters reward or punish representatives through their right to vote and exercising their choice however they wish – by going to the polls or not. Unfortunately, it appeared as though the political party representatives in the room heavily undermined the role played by ward committees in ensuring good governance.
Above: Back- Dr. Paul Kariuki, DDP, Prof Mngomezulu,
UWC, Malcom Canham, eThekwini Municipality, Andile
Mafa, Ranyaka, Patric Martel, UKZN, and Dr. Isaac
Front: Merusha Vather, Auditor General of SA,
Sphamandla Mhlongo, DDP, and Thabisile Miya, DDP at
LG Conference 2022.