Minister Bredell: New Councillors Will be Assisted
Media Statement by Anton Bredell, Minister of Local Government
Across the province over the next few days new councillors will be starting their new and challenging roles within their councils after the recent local government elections. It is crucial that these new councillors are well equipped to adequately perform their duties in order to deliver those vital services to the communities who elected them.
As Minister of Local Government, I want to put our new councillors on a strong footing from day one. I have put three programmes in place to assist them.
Firstly, my department has established a "Day 1" Helpdesk that will assist councillors and officials at their first council meeting. This is important because the election of the mayors and other office-bearers must follow legal guidelines. I have also deployed all of my senior officials to these council meetings to provide additional support.
Secondly, my department is rolling out seven special-focus programmes to councillors in the next few months. This is in addition to the induction programme that all councillors will be attending. The seven programmes include training for speakers and executive mayors and training in supply chain management, oversight and legal accountability.
Thirdly, my department will provide capacity support through our "pool of expertise" and our municipal professionals programmes, whereby municipalities identify their needs and my department provides the required expertise. These programmes will ensure that councillors will be well equipped to fulfil their roles and deliver services to the communities they serve.
I feel very strongly that councillors need to feel that they are supported and that help is available to them and I will ensure that the Department of Local Government will provide this assistance. If we have councillors that have been properly trained and that understand the importance of what they are doing, we will have communities that will have access to all the important services. The most important goal is to ensure that councillors are held accountable by the communities who voted for them and that service delivery does not get hampered in any way.