Newly elected councillors will receive training on government’s Back to Basics programme to ensure they serve their community efficiently.
This is according to Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel who participated in a debate on the Local Government Elections in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He said going forward, particular attention will be paid to local economic development, implementing the local integrated development framework and strengthening the district system.
“To ensure that newly elected councillors are empowered to serve their communities, a three-year induction and training programme based on the five pillars of the Back to Basics programme is being implemented.”
He said the first phase will start on 5 September.
“Councillors will be able to earn a National Certificate in Municipal Governance over the three-year period,” he said.
The debate was introduced by ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu.
The Deputy Minister said progress is being made in implementing all of the pillars of the Back to Basics strategy.
A number of dysfunctional municipalities have been stabilised and turned around.
Millions of South Africans now have access to water, electricity, housing, sanitation and refuse removal.
Local government has played a crucial role in these achievements, the Deputy Minister said.
“Financial management has improved. In 2011, only 49% of municipalities received unqualified audits. This has improved to 59%. In 2011, 33% of municipalities received audit disclaimers, this has come down to 11%.
“In the past 12 months, 296 municipal officials have been dismissed for fraud and corruption,” he said.
The Deputy Minister commended political parties for ensuring women candidates were selected during the list processes.
He said 9,306 councillors were elected on 3 August. Of these, 4,918 were Proportional Representation councillors – and 2,413 are women and 2,505 were men.
“Unfortunately, out of the 4,384 ward councillors, only 1,384 are women and 3,004 are men. We commend those parties that took gender parity seriously in the selection of candidates.”
Smooth elections process
The Deputy Minister said the elections have been accepted as free and fair by citizens and observers.
The Human Sciences Research Council undertook a voter satisfaction survey from a representative sample on Election Day.
Preliminary findings showed that 96% of the voters believe that the voting process was free and fair, and that 92% indicated that they trust or strongly trust the Electoral Commission,” said the Deputy Minister.
On average, voters waited 16 minutes in the queue before voting.
He thanked the Ministers of Home Affairs, Police, Defence, State Security, Justices, and Communications as well as the Chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board and the CEO of the IEC for their participation in the task team of the Inter Ministerial Task Team on Local Government Elections.
Condolences to families of fallen councillors
The Deputy Minister sent condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Councillor Nonhlanhla Mthembu from the ANC, who died on Monday during the inaugural meeting of the Johannesburg inaugural council.
“We also convey our condolences to the loved ones of Johannes Baaitjies of the DA and Zolile Mlangeni of the ANC who were murdered after being elected on 3 August 2016, as well as those voters that died exercising their democratic rights at voting stations on election day,” he said.