21 OCTBER 2014, DURBAN, 9TH ANNUAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE
Quoting Dr Dix, from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) “the names on the programme list are truly the who’s who of key people in local government”, this was echoed in the closing speech by Prof Malcolm Wallis from the Regent Business School. That is since all the different change drivers in local government were represented at this Conference, that included academics; public servants; councillors; community organisations; SALGA etc, but not just as speakers and chairperson at the Conference, but also from the audience, that kept the debate lively with hard hitting questions and comments.
Some of the several important themes emerged during the Conference included the principle of ‘Back to Basics’, the need for better integration and better links with planning, the idea that decentralisation is necessary, but not sufficient condition for democracy, gender mainstreaming and quotas, the complexities of capacity building, social factors such as patriarchy and the spatial dimension and the tensions between audit requirements and service delivery. Other issues discussed were the tensions related to class and poverty, the issue of spatial inequalities, the importance of learning by individuals and by organizations, the role of the councillor in the ward, the issues of token compliance and the importance of risk management, to name only a few. What sparked this Conference different from others that dealt with local government issues, were the presentation on the NDP within KZN and the inter-governmental framework.
Nevertheless this Conference highlighted that, factors such as poor service delivery, corruption, lack of political and management will, and lack of compliance are impacting the effectiveness of local government. What was pointed to was that intergovernmental has to be prioritised and strengthen to facilitate the excepted outcomes, namely that of service delivery. That includes political and management will to address these challenges at a local level. As was said local government is a “Cinderella story”, a story that needs to change to meet the tasks municipalities are faced with.
The Democracy Development Program (DDP, www.ddp.org.za) and KAS (www.kas.de) is proud to be actively supporting democratic change in local government, and through Conferences like these, we are harnessing the knowledge that could be used to make change possible for the marginalised and disadvantaged.
For more information about the 9th Annual Local Government Conference, you are welcome to contact the Communication Department at email@example.com.
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