Service Delivery War Room for Gauteng

Monday, September 1, 2014

Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has committed to establishing a Service Delivery War Room to improve responsiveness to communities.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) has recently lost meaning and hence many people are responding through protests.

“Over the next 100 days, we shall work with local government to review current structures and processes of community participation.

“We must therefore review them so that people’s democracy is expanded, institutions of democracy improved and enriched,” Premier Makhura said during a Gauteng-wide Municipal Councillor Conference, on Monday.

Premier Makhura said that the conference is expected to do a detailed review of why people have lost confidence in the current structures and processes of public participation and what needs to be done to build popular democracy and people’s power in action.

“How do we re-energize our communities and ensure they actively participate in community development in a constructive and proactive way.

“It is also my expectation that the conference will discuss the Service Delivery War Room machinery from ward to provincial level in order to improve the responsiveness and galvanize all resources of provincial and local government in a coordinated and integrated way as part of an active government approach.

“It should also discuss how can we empower ward councillors and place them at the centre of building local popular democracy and people’s power on the one hand enhancing capacity for rapid response to unblock service delivery and resolve community complaints on the other hand,” Premier Makhura explained.

In a bid to address the concerns and to move the community forward, to date, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Jacob Mamabolo has already engaged most community leaders to stabilise the environment and to start building public trust between the local government representatives and communities.

MEC Mamabolo said that local government often succeeded when all stakeholders contribute to the basket of support, which addresses and respond positively to municipal challenges.

“Well functioning municipalities excel in service delivery and thus reduce pressure on ward councillor. It is a logical conclusion that part of support to ward councillors is to ensure and assist in making municipalities to run well,” said MEC Mamabolo.

The two-day conference, held in Kempton Park, is being organised by the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The conference will provide an opportunity for various stakeholders operating in local government to understand each other’s issues and challenges, and most importantly, the plight of ward councillors who have been besieged with protracted violent community protests.

The conference is held under the theme “Building popular democracy and people’s power: A conference on popular participation and councillor role and support in Gauteng”.

Before the 2014 provincial and national elections, the Gauteng Province recorded a significant increase in number of community uprisings that seek to get government’s attention concerning poor delivery of services or perceived maladministration.

During protests, local councillors are often the first to be targeted by an angry community and in some areas, councillors’ houses are being torched. –