Measures to ensure local councils are better resourced and capacitated received particular attention during a commission on Legislature and Governance at the ANC National Policy Conference (NPC) currently underway at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.
Among the issues raised was the need to expand the powers of local and district municipalities to enable them to better provide services and infrastructure.
The commission deliberated on proposals contained in the NPC discussion documents, which have formed the basis for branch discussions over the last few months. According to the discussion document: “Local Government sphere is the most critical sphere of government in the delivery of government infrastructure investment and services to communities. Municipal space is the shared and most contested space by various government agencies, national and provincial departments.”
The commission dedicated much time to identifying solutions to the challenges at local level, challenges with existing funding models and allocation of existing. Another area discussed was the need to strengthen the capacity of councillors to effectively undertake their responsibilities and to professionalise the public service.
Drawing on the policy discussion document, the commission emphasised the centrality of coordinated planning and execution of ANC policies.
While the national Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has put in place monitoring and evaluations frameworks that enable the state to measure its impact and identify shortcomings, the practice of integrated planning has not taken root across all spheres of government.
The commission thus considered mechanisms to ensure that legislatures in all spheres are more effective in advancing the ANC’s electoral mandate, holding the executive to account and ensuring public representatives are more responsive to the needs and views of the people.
The recommendations of the commissions on legislature and governance which are expected to include enhancing the developmental role of state owned enterprises, improving public management and public finance capabilities, rooting out corruption and wastage, and enhancing the role of traditional leaders, will be presented to the Conference plenary for discussion and adoption.