Celebrating Local Government Successes

A note from SALGA CEO Xolile George.

SALGA is pleased that it has been able to continue cementing its growing relationship with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) through the most recent Local Government Week. The NCOP, after all, has an important role to play in terms of oversight and cooperative governance, and the stronger our relationship, the better for all concerned.

With the theme of the 2015 Local Government Week being ‘Celebrating 15 years of democratic and transformative local government – entrenching cooperative government for people- centred development’, it was also good to be able to highlight the many successes of our members over the years. In particular, member municipalities in attendance were able to showcase successes in the provision of energy and water, as well as contextualise challenges facing local government in these areas. We look forward to continuing the NCOP Local Government Week programmes, as these help to ensure the advancement of and investment in developmental local government, along with the institutional integrity of local government.

The Provincial Members’ Assemblies have begun with the first one kicking off in the Western Cape in September, (PMA’s) offer municipalities and other key stakeholders an opportunity to directly engage around particular issues, such as discussing emerging policy issues, and talking about progress on key issues and proposals. These also involve knowledge sharing on good practices and innovations.

The PMA’s will focus on four key areas of importance, notably: a policy framework for sustainable development; fiscal and financial management; building municipal capacity; and positioning SALGA and local government as a centre of excellence.

Finally, we are all excited about the forthcoming Africities Summit, to be hosted by the City of Johannesburg during the first week of December. Africities is the flagship platform of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), and SALGA is extremely proud to be hosting this triennial event.

SALGA looks forward to hosting the representatives of the many cities that fall under the UCLGA mandate, and for the key role players on the continent to be able to come together to share ideas and work closely in developing new concepts. We aim to make the 2015 Africities event one of the biggest and best, and hope it will serve as a platform to showcase innovations and best practices across various cities on a whole range of issues that are of critical importance to all African cities.

Furthermore, we are eager to explore ideas of common interest to cities across the continent, and work out how best to face up to and deal with the multiple challenges posed by such issues as urbanised poverty, climate change, transport challenges, safety and security, and even managing the continuous growth and expansion of cities and their surrounding environments.

Africities 2015 will see close to 4 500 delegates and representatives from all the major cities across the continent attending, and we must as a people, an organisation and a nation demonstrate all that is good and positive about South Africa. This will include showcasing all the excellent work done at a local- government level in respect of matters such as service delivery, economic growth and general improvement in our municipalities.

On a lighter note, with so many delegates from so many other countries visiting our nation, we must all work together to expose our colleagues from elsewhere in Africa to the entire sensory experience that Johannesburg can deliver. I have no doubt that SALGA and the City of Johannesburg will pull out all the stops to ensure we host an extremely successful summit.

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