SA, Palestine to strengthen cooperation in local govt

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pretoria - South Africa and Palestine have agreed to strengthen cooperation in local government and municipal development.

The two countries made the agreement at the 4th Congress of the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) being held in Rabat, Morocco, from 1 – 4 October.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel and the chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Thabo Manyoni, met a Palestinian delegation, led by Minister of Local Government, Dr Said Alkoni, and the chairperson of the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA), Ghassan Shakaa, on Tuesday.

The two countries undertook to strengthen cooperation in areas including:

  • legal frameworks for local governance;
  • urban and strategic development planning;
  • restructuring of local governments;
  • strengthening community participation in local government;
  • municipal engineering and planning; and
  • municipal elections.

The similar historical experiences shared by the two countries make for a strong foundation for mutual learning. The delegations thus called on the various municipalities present to forge partnerships aimed at improving service delivery to the people.

In his opening remarks, Nel referred to statements made recently by President Jacob Zuma at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, where he called on the UN to be at the forefront of ensuring Palestinian self-determination.

He said as South Africa prepares to celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy, its struggle was not complete until the people of Palestine enjoy their right to self-determination.

In his reply, Minister Alkoni also stressed that the development of the people of Palestine required both developmental as well as political interventions, as the non-resolution of political issues would continue to undermine developmental efforts. -

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