The role of Ward Committees in enhancing Public Participation in the Rustenburg Municipality: A critical evaluation
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Magister in Development and Management in the Faculty of Arts at
I hereby declare that this dissertation is my own work and has not been submitted for degree purposes at any other university nor have I copied it from any other person’s academic work.
Mr. I M. PUTU
Date: April 2007
This work is dedicated to my family especially my wife Buyisiwe who kept on encouraging me even in difficult times and my children Tshegofatso and Rorisang for their supportive work right through the time of my study. Particular attention goes to Thabo Putu (twin brother), whom we spent many long hours studying together and finally his family who always showed their interest and willingness to help and support both of us.
A special thanks to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for providing me with the gift of life, the courage and the hope to live.
I am heartily thankful to my supervisor whose encouragement, guidance and support from the initial stages to the final level enabled me to develop an understanding of the subject.
Lastly, I offer my regards and blessings to all of those who supported me in any respect during the completion of the project.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page
1. Chapter One
LIMITS OF THE STUDY IS ON THE ROLE OF WARD COMMITTEES IN THE RUSTENBURG MUNICIPALITY
1.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………….. 8
1.2. Research problem……………………………………..……............. 11
1.4 Structure of research……………………………….. ………………… 18
2. Chapter Two ………………………………………………….. 19
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ON PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN MUNICIPALITIES WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO WARD COMMITTEES……………………………………......................................19
2.1.1 Literature review…………………….……………. ……….…...........19
2.1.2 Research Methodology………………………………………............20 2.1.3 Definition of terms….…………………………..................................20
2.2.1 Public Participation……………………....…………………............. .20
2.2.2 Ward committees ....................................................................... .25
2.3 Governance and public participation……………………………….... .27
2.4 Linking Public Participation with democracy………………................29
2.5 Rationale for Public Participation………………………………………30
2.6 Technique for Public participation…………………………................32
2.7 Ward Committees, role and functions……………………………..… 34
3. Chapter Three
LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK OF PARTICIPATION
3.1 The Constitution of South Africa………………………………............38
3.2 The White Paper on Local Government………………………………41
3.3 Municipal Structures Act……………………………………………......45
3.4 Municipal System Act……………………………………………….......47
3.5 The Department of Provincial and Local government’s Handbook
for Ward Committees…………………………………………………….50
3.6 Municipal Planning and Performance Regulations, 2001…………54
3.7 Integrated Development Plan…………………………………………..55
3.8 Citizen Participation in municipal budgets ……………………………63
4. Chapter Four
EMPIRICAL RESEARCH – RUSTENBURG MUNICIPALITY
CASE STUDY …………………………………………………….............. .65
4.1 Background of the Municipality ………………………………........... .65
4.1.1 Socio economic analysis ……………………………………………..67
4.1.2. Rustenburg population distribution…………………………… ……73
4.1.3 Employment analyses and opportunities……………………………75
4.1.4 Economic opportunities……………………………………………….76
4.2 HIV and AIDS, Poverty and Vulnerability Status……………………..80
4.3. An Approach to Ward Committee establishment………………........85
4.3.1 The first Ward Committees………………………...........................85
4.3.2 Strengthening the new ward committees…………………........... ...89
4.4 Enhancing Community Participation……………………………….......92
4.4 Challenges of Ward Committees in the Rustenburg Municipality…..96
5. Chapter Five
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION……………………………109
6. BIBLIOGRAPHY …………………………………...............................115
LIMITS OF THE STUDY IS ON THE ROLE OF WARD COMMITTEES IN THE RUSTENBURG MUNICIPALITY
The South African Government has committed itself to instituting wide ranging participatory processes in the different spheres and institutions of governance in the country. The attempt to introduce participatory and direct democracy is evident, in addition to institutions and processes at national and provincial levels, in the planning processes and policy formulation of local government structures. Municipal authorities, for example are legally committed to involving community organisations in the formulations of budgets, planning and developmental priorities. The Constitution of South Africa (Act no.108 of 1996) mandates local government to provide a democratic and accountable local government and encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government. Measures were introduced to entrench community participation and also introduced to transforms the local government functions emphasising on development rather than regulations as was under the previous dispensation. As a result developmental Local Government is defined as “local government committed to working with citizen and groups within the community to find sustainable ways to meet social, economic, and material needs and improve the quality of their lives” (RSA. 1998, section B)
The Local government legislations made a provision for local authorities to establish a system of participatory democracy at the local level in the form of Ward Committees (Houston, et al 2001:206). These Ward Committees were introduced in municipalities as community structures to play a critical role in linking and informing the municipalities about the needs, aspirations, potentials and problems of the communities. They were established to form the bridge between local municipalities and communities by facilitating proper communication. Through working directly with the Municipality, ward committees, serve as a cord which articulates the new system of local government to the majority of the people, more especially to previously disadvantaged communities. Ward committees play an important role in creating a democratic culture of local participation and accountability. They are the main mechanisms available to municipalities and communities to enhance public participation in the local sphere of government. Their major obstacle is that their powers are limited to advising the communities and the relevant council.
The White Paper on Local Government provides for three approaches which can assist municipalities to be more developmental, namely integrated development planning and budgeting, performance management and working together with local citizens. Ward committees provide a link between the council and these processes. The new system of local government also provides for the consideration of gender issues at the ward committee level. The local government policy framework requires that at least fifty percent of representation on ward committees should be women. The involvement of youth is also greatly encouraged. The system also provides for and clarifies the role/relationship with traditional leaders at the ward committee level. The local government legislative framework accepts and acknowledges the existence of traditional leaders. Their involvement in ward community activities and functions is well documented. Lastly, the capacity building of ward committees is posing a major challenge. In order for ward committee members to perform their functions effectively training must be provided. The respective local councils should be responsible for providing the necessary training to ward committees through the office of the speaker under which they fall. In the national sphere efforts are made to ensure that training for ward committees is provided. Ward committees have an important role to play in actively taking part and determining core municipal business such as Integrated Developmental Planning, Budgeting, Municipal performance management process, without which democracy cannot be said is rooted on among the people.
1.2 Research problem
Globally, local government is the second level or third sphere of government which is deliberately created to bring government to the people. In this process it actually gives members of the community a greater sense of involvement in their local government affairs. In South Africa, the notion of public participation has manifested itself as a key concept that has been directed towards the shaping of a participatory democratic and developmental state. As a result of this, ward committees have become a powerful instrument for providing a link between the community and the relevant municipalities. With the beginning of democracy, the new Rustenburg local Municipality attempted to address the legacy of separatism, exclusion and non participation through Ward Committees. It is in the light of this development that this report seeks to investigate the “paradigm shift” in democratic governance and the role of Ward Committees in enhancing community participation in the process of governance in the Rustenburg as provided for by Local Government Legislation such as Municipal Structure Act 1998, the Municipal Systems Act, 2000 and other pieces of legislations. The focus will be placed on areas that outline the role of community participation in the context of the Rustenburg Municipality, past and present. Therefore there is a need to look at the role, function and impact of Ward committees in enhancing community participation in the local municipality.
What is evident at this stage however is that participation without the desired influence of effect on the outcome of the process is tantamount to tokenism, effectively rendering of the role of community participation to futile exercise. Pertinent issues related to local development planning and governance, in particular, the implication of the “paradigm shift” in governance and development and key trends and challenges within this process will be investigated. Cognisance will be given to the fact that community participation is central to Integrated Development Plan, budgetary process and general governance process, in the provisions of the Municipal Structures and Systems Act.
In May 2002, the Rustenburg municipality resolved to establish the Ward Committees motivated by the Municipal Systems Act of Section 17(1), chapter 4 part 4 of the Municipality Structures Act which states that “participation by local community in the affairs of the municipality must take place through political structures for participation. The Act also gave the Metropolitan and Local municipalities the possibilities to have ward committees as one of the specialised structures to “enhance participatory democracy in local government”.
The main purpose of this study is to make an investigation role of ward committees system in promoting or enhancing community participation in Rustenburg Municipality, in Bojanala District Municipality in the North West Provinces of South Africa
The hypothetical position of this research is to propose that public participation is a critical element of the integrated and sustainable development and governance in a democratic South Africa. Consequently, the resent shift towards participatory democracy practices should be championed as the will to empower communities to play a major role in influencing the development policy making process and in the immediate and long term, assist in dealing with the profound inequities that exist. In other words, the outcome of development and governance should reflect the needs and wishes of the Rustenburg Community.
The formulation of the Integrated Development Plans and local democracy is intended to achieve the objectives stated. This position is premised on the fact that planning and development under apartheid was centralised, and that it did not allow for community participation. The primary aim of this study is to investigate the role of Ward Committees in enhancing community participation including mechanisms that can enhance this involvement in the development of the municipality.
There are different ways that individuals can participate in local government. The following are some of the ways: The first way is through direct advice and support. Councillors are the most direct means of access people have to local government. Usually people will turn to a councillor for direct advice and support. Once a problem has been referred to a councillor, the person should demand to know what the councillor is doing or has done to deal with the problem. The second way is by attending of public meetings called by the councillor. Attending a ward committee or council is another way of participating in local government on matters such as the formulation of budgets, IDP, and programmes. Thirdly, community members are allowed to attend the municipal committees that are established to discuss issues that concern governance, local socio-economic development and service delivery matters.
Ward committees play an important role in creating a democratic culture of local participation and accountability. Ward committees and their members can participate in local government in the following ways:
a. Assessing and approving the budget
b. Planning and developing the integrated development plan.
c. In the planning and implementation of municipal service partnerships. In this context, ward committees and the community can play an important role as follows:
o Helping the municipality to decide on which services are to be
o developed and improved and insisting that council consult citizens
o during decision making should work with NGOs, CBOs and political parties to develop proposals for council to consider
o Communities can ask council to appoint a committee of community representatives to monitor processes and to advise the municipality on priorities for service development
o Communities or their representatives can evaluate future service providers and monitor the performance of those providing services
(d) Monitoring council activities on a regular basis.
Ward committees should insist on regular reports and feedback on municipal projects and services, either at ward committee meetings or public hearings. If necessary they should make constructive suggestions for improvement and if necessary organize the community to help get the job done.
(e) Monitor annual performance
Council should prepare a report for the ward committee at least once a year that shows how it has performed in relation to their objectives and the budget. This usually happens at the end of the financial year. The report and the audited financial statements must be made available to the public.
The study concerns two different questions. The first question is about public participation in local government affairs through ward committees, that is to say, an inquiry will be made into the effectiveness and efficiency of ward committees in making participatory democracy effective. The second question concerns the sub problem, which is formed by the challenges facing ward committees which can be grouped together in four central themes as mentioned in paragraph one of the proposal. Other problems which are related to the main problem will encompass the relationship between ward committees, (ward) councillors and the councils.
Ward committees are not faced alone by this challenge; ward councillors are also faced by it as well. It is argued that wards committee members and ward councillors as chairpersons need to be provided with capacity support by the council. The White Paper on Local Government, 1998, is in support of the above statement as it provides for the empowering of ward councillors as community leaders who should play a pivotal role in building a shared vision and mobilizing community resources for development.
1.4 The Structure of research
The first chapter deals with the introduction and explains the background to the study.
Chapter 2 will deal with the theoretical framework on public participation in municipalities with specific reference to ward committees.
Chapter 3: present the Legal and policy framework that encourages community participation, the Constitution, White Paper, Systems Act and Structures Act and the Rustenburg by-laws will be examined.
Chapter 4 will focus on presentation of the report based on the empirical findings of the research on the impact of ward committees, its challenges and successes in the promotion of community participation
Chapter 5 will draw the conclusions role and functions of ward committees in enhancing participation and make a clear recommendation for the future on ward committees and participation.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ON COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN
MUNICIPALITIES WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO WARD COMMITTEES
2.1.1 Literature Review
The research was drawn from both primary and secondary data. In addition to the various major applicable legislation, the different international view on participation and different motivation for community participation and the element and objectives of community participation. In the next section the literature is reviewed and analysed with the view to draw out key elements and objective of community participation.
This chapter introduces the literature that informed the study. It deals with the theoretical context on community participation, ward committees.
2.1.2 Research Methodology.
Interviews with various randomly selected numbers of respondents ward committee members, councillors including the Speaker of the Rustenburg Municipality, community members and some community based structures operating within the municipality to determine the extent to which ward committees play in enhancing participatory democracy in the Rustenburg municipality. 21 respondents were chosen from diverse areas villages, township and rural area to ensure the diverse feedback.
2.2 Definitions of terms
2.2.1 Public participation
For the last twenty years, the concept of Public participation has been widely used in the discourse of development. For much of this period the concept has referred to participation in the social arena, in the community or development projects. It has an array or diversity of meanings. For example, public participation is often viewed as ownership of development process, bottom up planning, grassroots planning, public involvement, participatory planning, democratic planning, and collaborative planning.
The term community and public are used in the study interchangeably. The concept of participation has being related to rights of citizenship and to democratic governance. It is a multi- faceted activity with different roles and varying degrees of community involvement. More recently, the definition of participation in development has often been located in development projects and programmes, as a means of strengthening their relevance, quality and sustainability.
The World Bank Learning Group defines public participation as a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and resources which affect them( World Bank 1995).
From this perspective, participation could be seen in the level of consultation or decision making in all phases of the project circle, from needs assessment, to appraisal, to implementation, to monitoring and evaluation.
According to Van der Waldt and Knipe (2001:141-142), they refer to community participation as an active process in which the clients, or those who will benefit, influence the direction and implementation of a development project aimed at improving the welfare of people in terms of income, personal growth, independence and other values regarded as valuable. This means that the community should become actively involved by using its own initiatives in implementing development activities.
Community participation is therefore much more comprehensive than simply helping a project, for example, through labour. It also involves the empowerment of the community. Empowerment means that people’s skills are improved so that they can become more effectively involved in the development process. It also means that the community can make its own decisions and take action as regards its own needs and conditions.
The community itself knows best what the prevailing conditions are and what problems are being experienced and it therefore knows best how to address these circumstances and/or problems. These authors go on to say that participation in the development process must allow the members of the community to use their own views and convictions to address the specific conditions and/or problems prevailing in the community. In addition participation must be acknowledged as a voluntary process that can make a definite contribution to converting or developing the community (Van der
Waldt and Knipe, 2001:142).
The handbook for public participation in local governance ‘Get involved with us’ the basic assumptions underlying public participation include the following:
• ‘Participation is a fundamental right of all people;
• Decisions made by people on their own behalf will often be better than those made for them by other people, because people know what they need in their lives;
• skills learned through participation can be extended to other aspects of lives, for example, the experience of participation often leads to a general increase in personal confidence and development’ (http://www.asalgp.co.za).
According to an article written by Kroukamp (in Administratio publica, 2002:50-51), the participation of citizens in the government activities should always be well organised. Endeavours to establish sound relationships between the various participants should be preceded by negotiations to determine the rules that are to be followed in the process of participation.
Emrich (in Mathur 1986:21 in Administratio Publica, 2002:50-51) suggests the following six rules when participation takes place:
· Participation must begin at the lowest level within the community.
· People at the grassroots level must be aware of the opportunities to
participate and they must understand what the advantages of such
· Participation must take place at all the stages of a particular project.
· From the earliest pre-preparing exercises, to the development of plans, the design of a mechanism for the implementation and the final stage of implementation, participants from the community must be taken on board.
· Participation is much more than casting a vote or some isolated activity.
· It requires from the concerned community members to ‘get right into
the middle of the fight’, to care about matters of concern and not to
allow others to take all the decisions.
· Participative processes must deal with the allocation and control of goods and services needed to achieve the goals.
· Participation must deal with the existing loyalties. It should not focus
exclusively on the strengthening of leadership.
· Participants must be cautioned about the possibility of conflict in some form. In communities where citizens participate in activities of
government, decisions may favour one group at the expense of
another. All the participants involved and not only the government
institution must deal with the conflict that flows from that situation”
2.2.2 Ward Committees
Craythorn (1993: 106) records that the ward system first emerged in South Africa in the 1786 in the Cape as a result of the Cape Burghers pressing for a greater share in the government of the Colony. This body was later given certain municipal and policing functions. Their role evolved over the years into a form of contact between the people and the municipal commissioners. The system was for years appropriate to one side of the population. It was rejected and opposed by the majority of Africans for being illegitimate. The birth of democracy saw the whole country divided in the wards. This can be traced from the provisions of the White
Paper on Local Government, 1998, which was released in March 1998. In the White Paper two types of metropolitan government are proposed. Provinces can choose the type of metropolitan, district or local municipality to be established in their respective provinces. One such type is that of metropolitan governments with ward committees. These are category A municipalities.
They consist of a metropolitan council which exercises the complete range
(Legislative, executive and administrative) of municipal powers and duties, and also of ward committees which are area-based committees whose boundaries coincide with ward committees. Ward committees will be chaired and convened by the councillor elected to the ward. They have no original powers and duties. They are established as committees of the metropolitan council and have delegated powers and functions only. They may have advisory powers and the right to be consulted on specific issues. Ward committees may also correspond to the centralized service centres which bring administration closer to the residents.
The new notion of wall- to- wall local government means that every South African will have direct access to a democratically elected representatives involved in the management of their local area (Parnell et al, 2002;83) This was made possible by the legislation governing local government. Ward committees were given new meaning, roles and functions. They are community elected area based committees within a particular municipality whose boundaries coincide with ward boundaries. They are chaired by the Ward councillor and composed of community members. A ward committee is meant to be an institutionalised channel of communication and interaction between communities and the municipality (Bolini and Ndlela 1998).
2.3 Governance and public participation.
According to Atkinson (1989:43) there is a notion of “popular sovereignty” a notion that indicates that governance is not a separate entity from its citizenry, but that the two are intertwined. Implicit in this form of governance, is the notion that the government is accountable to the community in an ongoing manner. This form of democratic and good governance instils an impression that the governance is owned by the community. This contextual analysis is in line with the shift from the concept of government to governance (kooiman1993)
From a South African perspective Swanepoel (1992) come out with a broad understanding of governance when they contend that the role of political leadership in governance is that of managing the relationship between the government and civil society. If good democratic governance refers to working with and listening to citizenry as individual, interest groups and society as a whole, thus it involves active co- operation and ongoing engagement in the process of policy formulation and implementation between politicians, public officials and members of the communities. The government has to ensure that all its structures enable the public to exercise a meaningful say. Governance as a process of facilitation and ensuring the delivery of goods and services through the management of social power and power relations thus includes a means of social stability and well being through deepening democracy.
Governance has been described as “both a broad reform strategy and a particular set of initiatives to strengthen the institutions of civil society with the objective of making government more accountable, more open and transparent, and more democratic (Monique, 1997:4 in Gaventa and Valderrama). For others authors, it represent a change in meaning of government, referring to a process of governing, a changed condition of ordered rule, or the new method by society is governed (Rhodes 1996: 652)
2.4. Linking Public Participation with local democracy.
Attention has to be drawn to the compatibility of public participation with democracy in general, in accordance with the ethos of representivity. This issue becomes more relevant in the South Africa context, where public participation is seen not only to play a pivotal role but also enhance local democracy. Since the new the new government took office, different expectations have been raised concerning policy on how government should relate to its community. However there is a general agreement that participation is key to the success of local development process. By this, it is implicitly implied that there has to be a representative and administrative systemic through which the views of citizen are heard are fed into policy formulation. Hence it is essential to ensure that control over local municipalities and civil society is not restricted to the new urban elites in South African context (Swilling and Monteiro, 1994). Swilling and Monteiro (1994) asserts that the new type of government should promote exclusivity around development planning.
2.5 Rationale for community participation
Protagonists of community participation provide several key reasons for its necessity. Firstly, it is argued that it provides an equal opportunity to influence the decision making process, secondly, based on popular sovereignty; it ensures that the government is sensitive to the needs of the people; thirdly, it counter acts the sense of powerlessness in the poor (Monyemangene 1997:29) Community Participation in the local government is crucial in a multi – dimensional and integrated development plans (Gaventa and Valderrama 1999:5). This falls in line with the objective of ensuring that communities own the process of development, and people are enabled to make a meaningful contribution to the development of their own lives. This can be translated into the creation of centres of economic and social opportunity, whereby people can live and work in safety and peace as an essential basis for equitable standards of living. However for participation to be effective, its nature should be meaningful and influential in the product of the process. Hence, “Community participation can only be a learning process only if the people really participate. Participation does not mean that people should be brought into a project when the physical labour is required. By that stage people should already have been involved for a long time. There is no stage for people to begin to participate than right at the start of the project.
People should not only do, but their right and ability to think, seek, discuss and make decisions should also be acknowledged” (Swanepoel, 1992:3) Arnstein (1992:34) states that “there is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having real power needed to affect the outcome of the process” As a result, the issue of whether planning should be technocratic or participatory thereby assumes special relevancy. Koenigsburger (cited in Monyemangene, 1997) assert that the question of public participation becomes relevant if the public assume control of the planning and development implementation, areas that were in the past enclaves of the elite and the planning technicians to drive the development without consultation. Koenigsburger attempts to argue that public participation in planning and decision making is at best a luxury and worst entirely unnecessary, due to the huge and adverse socio economic problem existent. However, this view is outdated and goes against the basic principles of democratic governance.
2.5 Techniques for participation
Participation is a complex mechanism, and in effect there is no single blue print. Hence, each area is characterised by different dynamics and demographics. This view is held whilst taking cognisance the fact that development does not occur successfully if beneficiaries are not part and parcel of the process of planning and implementation of the process (Parnell et al 2002:27). This raises the question as to whether public participation is the solution for social and economic development. It could be argued that public participation can slow delivery as it is a time consuming and expensive process. This is supported by the fact that the formation of ward committees to facilitate development can be quite costly and time consuming. Politicians could possibly “hijack” the process by, as Graham (1995:55) put it “seeing them as potential adversaries in the process of governing”. However he does not see this as a foreseeable threat in the near future due to power pressure groups within South Africa.
Consultation could also be an issue of dispute. Participation between the municipality and the committees would be on the level of policy formulation, priorities and strategies and the implementation of it will be facilitated by municipally. If limited consultation on the implementation phase occurs with ward committees this could be a problem on the legitimacy of the services. However, its long term benefits, such empowerment and capacitation of the communities outweigh those of a situation whereby participation does not take place. This approach is important at all levels of planning cycle, decision making, problem solving as this is integral to the process of empowerment and meaning participation. However, at this stage, to echo the views of Heymans and Totemeyer (1989) a fitting description of local government would be to speculate that “local government in South Africa is in a state of flux”. Hence, increased public participation in the municipality is of crucial importance if democratic and representative frame work is to become a success at local level In South African context, it is undoubtedly that public participation is essential for nurturing our young and emerging democracy, as it sets a good foundation for government and society relations. It is essentials as it serves to deepen democracy , and can increase effectiveness of policy formulation and implementation, creates an enabling environment for empowerment and capacity building in previously marginalised communities, and the process in proactive rather that being merely reactive( Heymans and Totemeyer:1989)
2.6 Ward Committees, their role and functions.
The newly created sub-municipal Ward Committees play a critical role in achieving the democracy at local level. Being a representative structure of the community and citizens, ward committees need to inform the municipality about the aspirations, potentials and problems of the people. They should also form a bridge by facilitating proper communication between council and citizens they represent. Local government legislation provides for the establishment of ward committees that will serve as a cord which articulates our system of government to the mass base. Ward committees have an important role to play in actively taking part and determining core municipal process, such as the Integrated Development Planning, municipal budgeting and municipal performance management processes. Without them, our system of democratic government and developmental local government cannot be said to be rooted among the people.
Ward committees have been established in more than 80% of the wards. These ward committees are of varying functional strengths. By paying attention to the functional status of these ward committees as well as to the task of establishing the balance of the remaining committees, we shall be extending the benefits of citizenship to greater numbers of our people.
From a broader view of community participation, the legislation on local government set clear mechanism for the establishment of the ward committees as a structure to liaise with the municipalities. Establishing ward committee is currently not mandatory for municipality and thus not all municipalities have to have them. However legislation makes it mandatory for municipalities to develop mechanisms to consult and involve communities in the affairs of the municipality and its processes. It would seem that most municipalities have chosen to establish ward committees to comply with this aspect of the legislation on citizen participation. Some municipalities have chosen not to refer to the community participation structures as ward committees. Some for instance, in KwaZulu-Natal, refer to these structures as development forums or residents associations and intend to use them for a similar purpose intended for ward committees.
Municipalities are obliged to develop lasting and successful model by ensuring that participation takes place through these established structured and as are institutionalised. They are a creation of legislation, the Municipal Structures Act, giving effect to the Constitution of the South Africa. Ward Committees are a part of local government and an important way of achieving the aims of local governance and democracy as mentioned in the Constitution, 1996. These structures are a committee of not more than 10 members of a ward and ward councillor is the chairperson. Its role is to facilitate participatory democracy; disseminate information; help rebuild partnership for better service delivery; and assist with problems experienced by the people at ward level.
A general understanding has emerged that ward committee is an area based committee whose boundaries coincide with the boundaries. Ward committee Resource book (2005: 20) provide this information about the ward committees:
• Are made up of representatives of a particular ward
• Are made up of members who represent various interests within a ward
• Are chaired by the Ward Councillor
• Give the community members the opportunity to express their needs, opinions on issues that affect their lives and to have them heard at the municipal level via ward councillor
• Are advisory bodies created within the sphere of the community to assist the ward in carrying out his or her mandate in the most democratic manner?
In other words, ward committees have been tasked to raise issues about the local ward, link Communities and Municipal, and participate on behalf of the community in the planning, decisions, integrated development plans, performance management and in all the budgetary processes.
3. LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK OF PARTICIPATION IN MUNICIPALITIES.
The principle of community or citizen in South Africa is not taking place in a vacuum.
All relevant policies and associated legislation place participation and accountability at the very heart of the system of local government.
The legislative framework on ward committees is comprised of at least five main documents: The constitution of South Africa, the White Paper on Local government, the Municipal Structures Act, the Municipal Systems Act, municipal Planning and Performance management regulation, 2001, and the Community Participation by –laws. All these legislation describe the way in which local government should function and provide the framework for how municipalities interact with communities. The following is the brief summary of the provisions in the local government legislation relating to community participation.
3.1 The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
The Constitution of South Africa enacted in 1996 is the supreme law and as such lays foundation of the democratic political system of the country. It envisages a complete transformation of local government system in which local government is given a distinctive status and role in building democracy and promotion socioeconomic development. Such a process is notably meant to bring government closer to the people and thus reinforce two of the fundamental mechanism of sustainable democracy, which is participation of the people and accountability of the local government.
The Constitution of 1996 (Section 152) provides for the objectives of local government as follows:
· Provide democratic and accountable government for local
· ensure the provision of services to communities in a suitable manner,
· promote social and economic development,
· promote a safe and healthy environment, and
· encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of Local Government.
These objectives must be achieved within the local council’s financial and administrative capacity. In order to achieve these objectives, section 153 of the Constitution (1996) further commits local government through a developmental focus and orientation to: “structure and manage its administration and budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community and to promote the social and economic development of the community, and to participate in national and provincial development programmes” (Caesar, 14999: 2). It is therefore concluded from the above that as a result of the developmental role of local government the establishment of ward committees has an important role to play towards the improvement of the welfare of the community.
Furthermore, section 151 of the Constitution of 1996 states the following regarding the status of municipalities:
· The local sphere of government consists of municipalities, which must be established for the whole of the territory of the Republic.
· The executive and legislative authority of a municipality is vested in its municipal council.
· A municipality has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the local government affairs of its community, subject to national and legislation, as provided for in the Constitution.
· The national or provincial government may not compromise or impede a municipality’s ability or right to exercise its powers or perform its functions.
In terms of section 152 (1) of the Constitution the objects of local government are to:
· Provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
· ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
· promote social and economic development;
· promote a safe and healthy environment;
· encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in matters of local government.
(2) A municipality must strive, within its financial and administrative capacity, to achieve the objects set out in subsection (1).
The range of the study can also be derived from the provisions of section 155 (1) of the Constitution which provides for the following categories of
· Category A: A municipality that has exclusive executive and legislative authority in its area.
· Category B: A municipality that shares municipal executive and legislative authority in its area with a category C municipality within whose area it falls.
· Category C: A municipality that has municipal executive and legislative authority in an area that includes more than one municipality.
3.2 The White Paper on Local Government, 1998
The White Paper on Local Government issued in 1998 gives effect to the new vision of the local government entrenched in the Constitution. The second section of the White Paper, “Developmental Local Government” puts forward the vision of a developmental local government which centres on working with local communities to find sustainable ways to meet their needs and improve the quality of their lives. To realise this vision, municipalities are encouraged to build local democracy by developing strategies and mechanisms to continually engage with citizens, business and community based organisations.
The White Paper provides some municipalities with the possibility to develop structures that would ensure meaningful participation and interaction with the councillors. It further gives a general outlines on the system of ward committees, their function, composition and role, the vision of ward committees as a channel of communication, powers, and duties of ward committees and also the administrative arrangements. These general outlines expresses the vision of ward committees which is the main role of ward committees, which is the facilitation of local community participation in the decisions which affect the local community, the articulation of local community interests and the representation of these interests within the municipality. The White paper provides the following for the Metropolitan government with Ward Committees;
Metropolitan governments with Ward Committees are Category (A) municipalities that consist of:
· A Metropolitan Council which exercises the complete range of (legislative, executive and administrative) municipal powers and duties.
· Ward Committees, which are area-based committees whose boundaries coincide with, ward boundaries. Ward Committees have no original powers and duties.
They are established as committees of the Metropolitan Council, and their powers and functions must be delegated from the Metropolitan Council. They may have advisory powers and the right to be consulted on specific issues prior to Council approval. They may also correspond to decentralised service centres which bring the administration closer to residents.
The Metropolitan Council will establish a Ward Committee for each ward falling within its area of jurisdiction. Ward Committees should be chaired and convened by the councillor elected to the ward. Each Metropolitan Council must develop procedures and rules to govern the membership and proceedings of Ward Committees, provided that membership rules are applied consistently across the metropolitan area and do not unfairly discriminate against any individual or institution. The central role of Ward Committees is the facilitation of local community participation in decisions which affect the local community, the articulation of local community interests, and the representation of these interests within the metropolitan government system. Ward Committees provide a structured channel of communication between geographic communities within the metropolitan area and their political representatives at the ward and metropolitan level. Well-functioning Ward Committees will provide every metropolitan resident with a local point of access to municipal government and strengthen the accountability of ward councillors to local residents. The establishment of Ward Committees should go hand in hand with strengthening support to ward councillors and building accountable and effective local political leadership.
The powers and duties delegated to Ward Committees must be determined by the Metropolitan Council. Metropolitan Councils can utilise Ward Committees effectively through the delegation of powers, such as:
· A strong role in determining local needs and priorities which form the basis of the metropolitan integrated development plan.
· Advisory powers with respect to policies impacting on the local area.
· The right to be consulted on specific issues prior to Council approval.
3.3 Municipal Structures Act, 1998
The Chapter 2 Section 19 of the Municipal Structures Act requires a municipality to strive with its capacity, to achieve the objectives set out in section 152 of the constitution, namely to develop mechanisms to consult with community and community organisations in performance of its functions and exercising its powers
Also reviewing annually the needs of the community and municipal priorities and strategies for meeting those needs and involving the community in municipal processes. Chapter 4 (part 4) of the Act requires that the municipality must establish ward committees, with the objective of enhancing participatory democracy in the local government. It obliges the municipality to make rules regulating the procedure to elect members of the ward committees. The chapter also provides that the ward councillor shall be the chairperson of the ward committee. It further provide a framework for the powers and functions of the ward committees, their term of office, how to deal with vacancies, remuneration, and dissolution of the ward committees.
The Act makes a provision for the establishment of ward committees as a possible way of encouraging community participation in matters of the municipality. This is what the Municipal Structures act provides in the establishment of ward committees
73. (1) if a metro or local council decides to have ward committees. It must establish a ward committee for each ward in the municipality,
(2) A ward committee consists of
(a) The councillor representing that ward in the council. Who must also be the chairperson of the committee: and
(b) Not more than 10 other persons.
(3) A metro or local council must make rules regulating
(a) The procedure to elect the subsection (2)(b) members of a ward committee, taking into account the need—
(i) For women to be equitably represented in a ward committee; and
(ii) For a diversity of interests in the ward to be represented.
(b) The circumstances under which those members must vacate office; and
(c) The frequency of meetings of ward committees.
(4) A metro or local council may make administrative arrangements to enable ward.
3.4 Municipal Systems Act, 2000
The Municipal Systems Act provides the core principles, mechanisms and processes that are necessary for the municipalities to fulfil their objectives. Chapter 4, section 17(2) states that “a municipality must establish appropriate mechanism, processes and procedures to enable the local community to participate in the affairs of the Municipality” It further calls for municipalities to develop a culture of municipal governance that works hand in hand with elected representatives with a system of participatory governance.
The Municipal Systems Act says that municipalities must develop a culture of municipal governance that complements formal representative government with a system of participatory governance.
Municipalities are the sphere of government closest to the people. They have powers and duties which directly affect the development of local areas and the daily lives of local residents. Formal systems of governance (such as elections) ensure that municipal councils are representative of the local community. However, the local community should not only participate in the governance of their local area once every five years when they vote for a new municipal council. Rather, local communities should be actively involved in shaping their living environments through participating in municipal processes.
Community participation deepens democracy by giving local citizens a direct say in a range of decisions and processes which affect them, for example, municipal planning and budgeting. Community participation also strengthens the relationship between municipal councils and community groups, and enhances the accountability of municipal councils to local citizens. Municipalities must therefore encourage, and create conditions for, the local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality, including in:
· the preparation, implementation and review of the municipal integrated development plan;
· the establishment, implementation and review of the municipal performance management system;
· the monitoring and review of municipal performance, including outcomes and impact;
· the preparation of the municipal budget; and
· Strategic decisions relating to the provision of municipal services.
Municipal processes such as planning, budgeting, and service delivery, can be complex and difficult to understand. Local residents and groups with access to skills and resources may be in a better position to participate in these complex processes than other, less resourced residents and groups. To ‘level the playing field’ and ensure that all residents and groups are able to participate effectively, municipalities must take steps to build the capacity of the local community to participate.
It is also important that municipal councillors and staff have the skills to facilitate community participation. Municipalities must therefore build the capacity of local councillors and staff, to ensure that they are able to foster meaningful community participation.
Section 5 places more emphasise on the rights and duties of the citizens in relation to municipal functions, which include contributing to the decision making processes of the municipality, being informed on all decisions of the council affecting the rights, property and reasonable expectations. The other important component of this Act in Chapter 3 is the creation of conditions that will allow for the lowest members of the community to participate, such as disable people, disadvantaged groups and also people who cannot read and write. Section 33 states that municipalities must determine methods to consult communities and residents on their needs and priorities. They must also determine methods to provide for their participation in the drafting process and the review of the integrated development plan.
3.5 The Department of Provincial and Local government’s Handbook for Ward Committees.
The Department of Provincial and Local government’s Handbook for Ward Committees explains the roles of ward committees and the roles of ward councillors as follows:
Roles of ward committees
· Increase the participation of local residents in municipal decision-making, as they are a direct and unique link with the council;
· Are representative of the local ward, and are not politically aligned;
· Should be involved in matters such as the IDP process, municipal performance management, the annual budget, council projects and other key activities and programmes as all these things impact on local people;
· Can identify and initiate local projects to improve the lives of people in the ward;
· Can support the councillor in dispute resolutions, providing information about municipal Operations;
· Can monitor the performance of the municipality and raise issues of concern to the local Ward;
· Can help with community awareness campaigns e.g. waste, water and sewage, payment of fees and charges, as members know their local communities and their needs.
Roles of the ward councillor
· Is the chairperson of the ward committee;
· Is responsible for convening the constituency meeting to elect ward committee members;
· Is responsible for calling ward committee meetings;
· Is responsible for ensuring that a schedule of meetings is prepared, including: ward
· committee meetings, constituency meetings and special meetings;
· Works with the ward committee to ensure that there is an annual plan of activities;
· Is responsible for ensuring that the ward committee does what the municipality expects about reporting procedures;
· Is responsible for handling queries and complaints in the ward;
· Is responsible for resolving disputes and making referrals of unresolved disputes to the Municipality;
· Should be fully involved in all community activities that the ward committee is engaged with; Is responsible for communicating the activities and meeting schedules to the PR councillor.
The Guidelines are clear that no executive powers should be delegated to ward committee members. They also indicate that a ward committee may express dissatisfaction with the non performance of its ward councillor in writing to the municipal council.
With regard to capacity building, the Guidelines require ward committees to prepare an annual capacity building and training needs assessment for members of the committee. A capacity building plan for each member, with a budget, should then be developed. In terms of the composition of ward committees, the Guidelines echo the Structures Act’s call for equitable representation of men and women. The document goes on to suggest the diversity of interest groups that should be included, such as youth, religious groups, sports and culture, health and welfare, business, environment, education, older persons etc.
The election procedure for members of the ward committee can be one of two types: either sectoral representation or geographic representation. In the case of the former, the different interest groups in the ward are first identified and then organisations and individuals representing each sector are invited to stand for election onto the ward committee. In the case of geographic representation, the municipality identifies the different geographical areas, villages or clusters of farms that will represent an equitable geographic spread of the residents of the ward, and then calls for nominations from each area. At a community meeting, voting is then carried out to elect the ward committee members.
Ward committees are required by the Guidelines to meet at least quarterly. Public, or ward, meetings should also be convened regularly. These meetings are supposed to enable the ward committee and ward councillor to register the concerns and inputs of the community with regard to service delivery and other issues in the ward, and to report back to the community on issues that affect it.
3.6 Municipal Planning and Performance Regulations, 2001
There is a close connection between the municipal Planning and Performance management Regulations and Municipal Systems Act. The Act requires that a municipality through appropriate mechanisms, procedures and process established in terms of Chapter 4, must involve the local community in the development, implementation and review of the municipalities’ performance management systems, and in particular, allow the community to participate in the setting of appropriate key performances indicators and performance targets. Section 15 of the municipal
Planning and Performance Management Regulations further says that if there are no other municipal wide structures for community participation, a municipality must, establish a forum. The forum must be representative and enhance community participation in the integrated development plan. In addition, the forum must enhance public participation in monitoring, measuring and reviewing performance
3.7 Integrated Development Plan
Theoretically, participatory or Integrated Development Planning is an approach to planning that involves the entire municipality and its citizens in finding the best solutions to achieve long-term development. It is regarded as a key vehicle for local government to fulfil its developmental role, and is the principal planning instrument that guides and informs all planning and decision-making in a Municipality. The IDP describes a single, inclusive and strategic plan that guides and informs all decisions with regard to management and development of the municipality.
South Africa’s legislation requires that all municipalities produce an IDP. Once the IDP is drawn up, all municipal planning and projects should be carried out in terms of the IDP. The MSA also requires that the IDP incorporates a spatial development framework and guidelines for land management systems. The annual council budget should be based on the IDP. At District Council level, a framework is to be developed in consultation with all local municipalities within the district. This framework will ensure co-ordination, consultation and alignment between the district council and local municipalities. As we have discussed in chapter four, many government services are delivered by provincial and national government departments at the local level. The IDP are thus central to the planning process, around which the full range of municipal functions are coordinated and integrated with national, provincial and private sector initiatives. Municipalities must take into account the programmes and policies of these departments. But the departments should also participate in the IDP process so that they can be guided on how to use their resources to address local needs. Through appropriate mechanisms, processes and procedures established in terms of the relevant legislation and guidelines (South African Government, 2000a, iv and South African Government, 2001), the local community must be called upon to participate in the drafting of the IDP. Therefore, local communities have the chance to participate in identifying their most important needs as the IDP process encourages all stakeholders who reside and conduct business within a municipal area to participate in the preparation and implementation of the development plan. Since the IDP involves participation of a number of stakeholders, it is crucial for the municipality to adopt an appropriate approach and also put in place appropriate structures to ensure effective participation.
The DPLG argues that the IDP is a consultative process that contributes to ‘strengthen democracy and hence institutional transformation because decisions are made in a democratic and transparent manner, rather than by a few influential individuals’. IDP is conceived as one of the most relevant spaces for citizen participation in local governance as it ‘gives local communities an opportunity to inform the council what their development needs are; it gives them an opportunity to determine the municipality’s development direction; provides a mechanism through which to communicate with their councillors and the governing body; and provides a mechanism through which they can measure the performance of the councillors and the municipality as a whole’ (South African Government, 2001, p. 6). The DPLG has developed Guide Packs on the Integrated Development Planning process, in which IDP is defined as being ‘a very interactive and participatory process’ (South African Government, 2001, p. 4).
Chapter 5 of the MSA (South African Government, 2000a) focuses on IDP and seeks to establish an enabling framework for the core processes of planning, performance management, resource mobilization and organisational change which underpin the notion of developmental local government. Two important ideas are contained in the IDP philosophy. Firstly, local authorities are expected to take on an ‘enabling role’ (i.e. a facilitating and coordinating role), in addition to the role of direct service and infrastructure delivery. Secondly, municipalities need to become ‘strategic’ in their orientation, i.e. plan for longer-term developments, respond in a timely manner to key local issues, and attempt to ensure comparable responses from other actors. Thirdly, municipalities need to be ‘open’ and ‘participatory’ institutions that work together with local communities.
Guide Pack 1 (South African Government, 2001) gives specific orientations in terms of citizen participation in IDPs; it states the principles, tools, procedures and mechanisms for a structured process of public participation. It also provides some guideline for encouraging and creating conditions for public participation. Active encouragement should focus on those social groups which are not well organized and which do not have the power to articulate their interests publicly. This could mean poverty groups, women, or specific age groups. The municipality has to identify the groups and determine appropriate ways of ensuring their representation in the IDP Representative Forum.
The DPLG proposes that an IDP Representative Forum be established to encourage the participation of communities and other stakeholders. The forum may include members of the executive committee of the council, councillors including district councillors, traditional leaders, ward committee representatives, heads of departments and senior officials from municipal and government departments and representatives from organised stakeholder groups. The purpose of the forum is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to represent the interests of their constituencies, to provide a structure for discussion, negotiations and joint decision making and to ensure proper communication between all stakeholders and the municipality. Finally, it is expected that it will monitor the planning and implementation process.
The DPLG defines the process to be undertaken to produce the IDP as consisting of five phases. Once the IDP has been produced there will be an additional phase in the process to monitor and control its implementation. The DPLG envisages a different role for citizen participation throughout the various phases. Table 5.1 summarizes these phases and the role of citizen participation as envisaged by the DPLG (South African Government, 2001).
The first phase is the diagnosis; it involves the identification of problems and resources. During this phase information is collected on the existing conditions within the municipality. It focuses on the types of problems faced by people in the area and the causes of these problems. The identified problems are assessed and prioritized. Information on availability of resources is also collected during this phase. The following phase involves the identification of strategies for overcoming problems. To find solutions to the diagnosis established in phase 1, the municipality must develop a vision as to what it would like to achieve in the long run. This, in turn, implies specifying the objectives to be achieved and how they will be achieved (strategies and specific project identification). During the third phase, the municipality works on the design and content of projects identified during Phase 2. Clear targets must be set and indicators worked out to measure performance as well as the impact of individual projects. Once all projects have been identified, the municipality has to check again that they contribute to meeting the objectives outlined in phase 2. This is done in phase 4. Finally, the IDP is presented to the council for consideration and approval. The Council may adopt a draft for public comment before approving a finalized IDP.
Table 5.1: Citizen Participation in diverse IDP phases Planning phase
Mechanisms and Spaces for Participation
Community Meetings organised by the ward councillor
Surveys and opinion polls
* * *
Strategies for overcoming problems
District level workshops of IDPs committees, with representatives of sector departments and stakeholders – district level
(b) Localised community level projects
Technical sub-committees with few
selected representatives of stakeholder
Representation of stakeholders on project subcommittees
Intensive dialogue between technical subcommittees and affected communities/stakeholders
IDP Representative Forum
Public Discussion and consultation with communities and stakeholders
Opportunity for comments from residents
Monitoring and Implementation
IDP Representative Forum
The most serious obstacles for citizen participation in the IDP process have been found in the evaluation phase. The ‘other’ option reflects the opinion of those who considered that the most serious problems for citizen participation in the IDP process have been found both in the implementation and evaluation phase.
3.8 Citizen Participation in municipal budgets
According to the legislation, local communities, particularly through ward committees, have the right and duty to discuss, ask questions and make recommendations to the municipal council on the best ways to generate income, to keep costs down, prevent corruption and safeguard the assets of the municipality. Moreover, linking community priorities to municipal expenditure and investment programmes is central to the IDP process and should have a mirror effect in budget design.
Municipal Councils must approve municipal budgets before the new fiscal year begins after proper planning and consultation with ward committees and other stakeholder groups in the area. The draft budget should be ready a few months beforehand so that it can be used for consultation. Ward Councillors can also call ward meetings to discuss the budget. Ward Committees should advise councillors on the services needed in the area, affordable charges for the services, and how to ensure that people pay for their services. The community should be involved as much as possible in deciding what should be the spending priorities for the area they live in. Ward Councillors should report to ward meetings about the broad budget plans and consult the residents about programmes and projects that will affect them. All members of the community also have the right to observe the special council meeting at which the budget is debated and voted on. Community organisations should get involved in consultation meetings to discuss efficient and cost-effective service delivery.
However, as noted earlier, more than 90% of CSO respondents stated that the influence of citizen participation in the preparation and approval of municipal budget was none to low (with more than 60% of the respondents stating that it was nil). This contrasted with the perceptions of municipalities that tended to confer more weight to citizen participation in budget formulation and approval (more than 50% stated that citizen participation was medium to highly influential). Various research reports confirm my findings and note that citizen participation in municipal budgeting processes is greatly reduced.
The legal framework in South Africa does not provide for participatory budget mechanisms as those implemented in various developing countries. This survey looked into the opinions of municipal officials and CSO representatives on whether the legal framework should be extended to include this mechanism in order to strengthen citizen participation in local governance, or whether it was not a matter of including new mechanisms but improving and enforcing existing tools and regulations.
Chapter 4: EMPERICAL FINDINGS – RUSTENBURG MUNICIPALITY CASE STUDY
This chapter will focus on presentation of the report based on the empirical findings of the research, ward committee system as implemented in the municipality, its challenges and successes in the promotion of community participation
4.1 Background of the municipality
The Rustenburg Local Municipality is a category B municipal council consisting of 36 wards. It is located in the eastern parts of the North West Province and is accessible to a number of major South African urban centres. These centres include Johannesburg and Tshwane, both of which are located approximately 120km from Rustenburg. Smaller centres surrounding Rustenburg are Madibeng, Mogale City and Zeerust in the Ramotshere Moilwa Local Municipality. Rustenburg is linked to the above urban centres through an extensive regional road network. The most notable of these is the N4 freeway or Platinum Corridor, which links Rustenburg to Tshwane to the east and Zeerust to the west. The R24 links Rustenburg to Johannesburg in the south and the Pilanesberg to the north.
Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) is one of the five municipalities within the Bojanala District Municipality in the North West Province and is divided into 36 wards and has a total population of about 449 900 people comprising of 54.1% males and 45.9% females (source:Statssa community survey 2008). The municipality is reputed to be one of South Africa’s fastest growing urban areas with an annual compound economic growth rate of 6% between 1996 and 2002.
This significant growth is largely attributed to the impact of the world’s largest mines in the immediate vicinity of the town, namely, Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum, Xstrata, Royal Bafokeng Mines etc. With approximately 97% of the total platinum production occurring in Rustenburg, the mining sector provides around 50% of all formal employment.
Rustenburg Local Municipality has a relatively complex demographic makeup and many different population strata making up the demographic profile. In total, the Rustenburg Municipal Area houses a population of approximately 400 000 people. Out of this total, roughly 269 940 people live in settlements that are located on non-tribal land. Approximately 107 976 people live on tribal land belonging exclusively to the Royal Bafokeng Nation. Approximately 22 495 people of the remainder of the population live in mining hostels and approximately 49 489 people live on farms located within the Municipal Area. The average household size of households living within the Rustenburg Municipal Area is 3.4, which is low compared to the National average. A low average household size is indicative of a modern, urbanised society. The rural and semi rural areas in the area have bigger sizes of households. Many grannies become breadwinners with their pension fund in some of the households.
4.1.1 Socio economic analysis
Rustenburg is currently rated to be one of the fastest growing towns in the country. This includes not only traditional forms of development such as increased urbanization, the transformation of natural and agricultural land, open spaces and increasing pressure on services; but also large scale industrialization due to industries such as those of the mining sector. Associated with this is the advent of the Platinum Spatial Development Initiative (SDI), the Mozambique-Botswana corridor and the Bafokeng Platinum N4 Initiative.
Demographic population profile (Black, Asian, Coloured, White, Male, Female) Statistic South Africa released the results of the community household survey conducted in 2008 and this results are the only recognized census report termed legal. Table 1 depict population per race.
Population for Person: Rustenburg Municipality
Source: Statssa – community survey 2008
Indian or Asian
Population group by Gender for Person: Rustenburg Municipality
Indian or Asian
Population group by Age for Person: Rustenburg Municipality (Rustenburg IDP2005 -6)
Indian or Asian
Table 5: Rustenburg Municipal Area Population (Settlements)
Bafokeng Tribal Settlements
Four settlement types located within the Rustenburg Municipal Area can be distinguished. These are urban settlements, tribal settlements, rural settlements and informal settlements..
a. Urban Settlement
These settlements have a formal township layout, are serviced with the full range of municipal services (water, sewer, electricity and tarred roads). These settlements include Rustenburg/ Tlhabane, Boitekong, Rankelenyane, Phatsima, Hartbeesfontein, Kroondal and Marikana.
b. Tribal Settlement
The second settlement type comprises settlements that are largely unique to the Bafokeng Region. These settlements are located on Bafokeng and other tribal land. Although these households do not have individual title deeds, they have security of tenure through their association with the tribe. This tenure agreement was sufficient to encourage many Bafokeng citizens to build permanent housing structures over the years. In addition, the Bafokeng citizens generally have serviced stands. Settlements that fall within this category include settlements such as Phokeng, Kanana, Luka, Chaneng, Tlaseng, Thekwane and Photsaneng.
c. Rural Settlement
Rural settlements are settlements that are similar in nature to the tribal settlements with regard to the residential densities and functions, but they are not located on tribal land. Therefore, these settlements do not have the same advantages than settlements located on Bafokeng land and administered by the Royal Bafokeng Administration. In contrast, they are characterized by a lack of basic municipal services. These settlements include settlements such as Tantanana, Mamerotse, Modikwe, Bethanie, Makolokwe and Motlhabeng.
d. Informal Settlement
A third settlement type located within the Municipal Area is informal settlements. These settlements largely house mine employees and are therefore located along the mining belt. These include settlements such as Wonderkoppies, Nkaneng, Zakhele, Popo Molefe and Freedom Park. The informal settlements are characterized lack of basic municipal services
(Rustenburg IDP Document, 2005 -2006).
4.1.2. Rustenburg population distribution
Rustenburg has shown a significant population increase in past years. The growth rate of the town over the past 15 years has fluctuated between 0.8% and 5.0% at all times higher than the national growth rate. This growth rate cannot be attributed to natural growth though births alone, but is largely contributed the result of an influx of people into the Municipal Area; largely due to the numerous employment opportunities created by the mines in recent years
Table 6: Household income profile – Rustenburg Local Municipality
Percentage of households with monthly income of :
% - less R800
% R800 to R1600
% R1600 to R3200
%R3200 to R6400
% R6400 and more
2. Dense Settlement
Table 7: Skills
Senior official, managers
Technicians, Associate Professionals
Service workers; Shop assistants
Table 9: Education levels
Std 10 /
Table 10: Housing
The average household size of households living within the Rustenburg Municipal Area is 3.4, which is low compared to the National average. A low average household size is indicative of a modern, urbanised society. The rural and semi rural areas in the study area have bigger sizes of households. Many grannies become breadwinners with their pension fund in some of the households.
4.1.3 Employment analyses and opportunities
In South Africa, unemployment is extremely high and it is seen as one of the most pressing socio-political problems facing the government. Rustenburg like many other cities in South Africa is counted as experiencing high levels of challenges, and majority of the people are employed in the mining sector, government, tourism, retail, informal trading and other. With fewer opportunities, the challenges affect the levels of hunger and vulnerability. The following tables present the employment figures
Employed in terms of race
Indian or Asian
Indian or Asian
4.1.4 Mining Sector
Mining is the major sector that has employed a number of people. It is reported that many of the mines in the Rustenburg area has a life expectancy in excess of 70 years. It is known that majority of the people employed are unskilled and semiskilled labourers. The mining house includes Impala Platinum, Anglo Platinum, Xstrata, Lonmin Platinum, etc
Tourism is worldwide one of the fastest growing industries. Heritage tourism in South Africa is to a large degree under developed. The city is located on major highway routes and close to 2 major centres, making it a hub for tourist activities. Rustenburg tourism is the third largest employer after government with more than 100 hotel accommodation. This
The Provincial, District and local government is the second biggest employer after the mine. Their employees include educators, hospital officials, and many more of these are professionals, skilled, labourers etc.
Rustenburg municipality, like many other local municipalities in South Africa, experiences a share of socio –economic and political problems; most of the problems are linked to the legacy of apartheid and unjust system of the past.
The problems experienced included the non delivery of essential services such as water, sanitation, electricity, health related problems, housing, unemployment, poverty, crime and escalating cases of HIV/AIDS and the municipalities continued to experience from its citizens, non payment of rates and services, land invasion, ignorance on how local government works, lack of interest and non participation on municipal related activities. Community made more demands for basic services, and expected delivery immediately without understand the municipality’s limitations.
These were not problems which municipality could solve on its own; it needed the cooperation of community to resolve. The Rustenburg municipality was therefore not only challenged to seek a legitimate ways to find with its residents and promote the relationship but also provide a systematic and sustainable process that will allow citizens to participate in the joint problem solving, decision- making processes, planning and implementation of the development project in the municipality.
According to Ward Committee Handbook (2005:6), International experience has shown that citizen and community participation is essential part of effective and accountable governance at local level. One way of ensuring lasting and successful community participation is through establishing structured and institutionalised frameworks for participatory local governance. Structured and institutionalised models of participation generally work best when citizens see them as legitimate and credible, where there is a political commitment to their implementation and they have legal status (Graham 1995:45).
The community in Rustenburg like the rest of South African developed high hopes and believed that the new democracy would bring much needed change and development, as it was the promise for better ‘better life for all” seemed to be a reality. Idasa’s Leadership manual (2002 :34 ) describe the term democracy as word derived from the Greek word “ demo” meaning People, “kratos” the rule, therefore meaning the rule of the people.
As most of the community leaders took the centre stage in government, as local government, there was a need for transformation and development. This compelled the municipality to seek to address the social – economic and political imbalances in the municipality. The need was much, and development was eminent and very urgent.
On the other hand there was a tremendous growth in the town, at the fast pace. The municipality experienced a population growth and economic boom. New buildings, shopping malls, as well as informal settlements are sprung up; these were as a result of platinum mines. It is estimated that the population of Rustenburg municipality is in the range of 60000 with such a growth, the management of the new municipality was challenged to meet the growing needs of the growing population, such as the need for housing, health care, water, electricity, storm water drainage system, transport, roads, the ever increasing HIV/AIDS levels, high levels of unemployment and poverty. This became not only a challenge to the municipality; but also a problem that needs to be solved jointly by the community and the municipality.
4.2. HIV Aids, poverty and vulnerability challenges
a. HIV and AIDS
Rustenburg, located in the North West Province of South Africa, is an area rich in mineral resources and a number of mines operate in close proximity to Rustenburg City. The mining activities attract a large number of migrant workers which has resulted in the disruption of local community life coupled with the burgeoning of informal housing and indigent communities.
As a consequence, the Rustenburg area exhibits a disproportional high HIV/AIDS infection rate in relation to the rest of the province. This is borne out by data collated from health centres within the district and verified by the Provincial Department of Health. At Freedom Park Clinic, 50% of pregnant mothers and over 55% of outpatients were HIV positive in 2009. Many people living with HIV/AIDS in the area are living below subsistence level and dying in conditions of abject poverty. This is attributable to the lack of immediate or extended family that would normally be able to care for the patient and to the prevailing economic and social conditions which makes it difficult for families to care adequately for the patient. Where such family structures are available, it is usually the breadwinner of the family who is infected, placing an intolerable economic burden on the whole family. Overburdened health services are unable to cope with the increased care needs and the AIDS patient consequently has no place to turn for assistance or treatment to maintain quality of life and dignity.
Number of people living with HIV and AIDS and are on ARV`s, with the total of 13 014 on the programme.
b. Poverty and Vulnerability
Vulnerability is a major obstacle to social and economic development in Rustenburg municipality. Poor people especially vulnerable; they have few resources to cope with hazards or shocks. Yet they are significantly more likely to be affected by HIV and AIDS, unemployment, trade shocks, climate change, famine or conflict. Sustainable poverty reduction can only be achieved and managed effectively if vulnerability is better understood.
According to the Department of Health’s National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS/STIs 2007-2011(NSP) there are a number of cross-cutting, structural factors that are drivers for vulnerability. These include; Poverty, Gender and gender-based violence, Cultural attitudes and practice, Stigma, denial, discrimination and exclusion, mobility and labour migration and Informal settlements.
The links between poverty and vulnerability are complex. The link is caused by social, economic and environmental conditions and HIV infection, health and related consequences. Vulnerability is often discussed in terms of the interaction between physical and social variables, with poverty entering as one of the dominant social dimensions affecting overall vulnerability. Poverty is not, however, the only dimension.
Poverty in Rustenburg has many manifestations:
· the visibly poor who are homeless, live in informal dwellings;
· the unemployed;
· those living below the poverty line, however it is defined;
· those dependent on social security;
· the employed poor – e.g. farm workers, menial labourers, seasonal workers and undocumented immigrants;
· people who go in and out of poverty, e.g. seasonal workers and others in insecure employment (e.g. those affected by the government reducing import tariffs);
· the particular vulnerability of women and girls (‘feminisation of poverty’);
· rural poverty vs. urban poverty; and
· Intergenerational poverty (people in a poverty trap/chronic poverty, where poverty is reproduced over generations).
Poverty greatly contributes to an individual's or community's vulnerability. Poverty has been described as “the deprivation of basic capabilities” (Dhanani and Islam 2002: 1211). People who are poor often lack access to resources, both natural and social, and political power, to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters or economic or social shocks.
Poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon, encompassing not just lack of income or ability to consume resources, but the ability to access such resources as health care, education, or political representation. Lack of livelihood diversity, that is reliance on one source of income, and type of livelihood can trap people into a cycle of poverty that leaves them vulnerable to shocks such as climate variability and change or fluctuations in the global market. Furthermore, income disparity is likely to make some individuals, communities, and developing nations more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and variability
Another challenge that contributes to poverty and vulnerability is the HIV and AIDS. Many factors contribute to the spread of HIV. These include: poverty; inequality and social instability; high levels of sexually transmitted infections; the low status of women; sexual violence; high mobility (particularly migrant labour); limited and uneven access to quality medical care; and a history of poor leadership in the response to the epidemic.
4.3 An approach to Ward Committee establishment
The Rustenburg Ward committee development could divide in two phases. Firstly the early stage or the beginning of participatory democracy and the Second phase of Ward committee development
4.3.1 The First Ward Committee is established
In the year 2002, the Municipality resolved to establish the ward committees which would serve as a primary vehicle to promote community participation (Rustenburg Municipal by – law 2002: 155). The municipality acknowledged the need to get the community to be the major partner if they are to govern and accelerate development as mandated by the Structures and Systems Acts. The fact that the ward committee system was a new concept to many communities, made the process very difficult. It must be stated that not many councillors or communities understood the local government systems, budget process, participatory democracy and what it meant.
Even though the council took a resolution to establish ward committees, logistics and the support for ward committees, were left in the hands of individual Ward councillors. It must be note that not all the ward councillors understood what the legislation required, with minimum resources Ward councillors did what they thought is right. Difficulties were experienced in many ways. In one of the wards, the ward councillor instead of going through an electoral procedure appointed herself the committee members on their interest for community matters. She says “There are teachers, there are business women, there is one person from the secondary school, another one from the primary school, I have people working in the mine, I also have reverend of the church, so I think it is fairly representative, I have a person that was previously employed by the council, he is now a pensioner, so I think it is fair. I tried to have representatives of every body.” This is an example where councillors also battled to understand the concept of ward committees.
At some point it was discovered some of the ward committees went through an informal and chaotic process, and are a representative of very narrow constituencies and that committee members are not aware of their exact role and functions. The political domination of structures led to political tensions and loss of focus. The ward committees’ structures took on a highly political character. The ward committee that had political dominance were bound to lose focus. Moreover, there were expectations that participating in the ward committees could entitle one to some kind of benefit. When no benefits materialised, there was no motivating agenda, people became disillusioned and lost interest.
Ward 4 clearly symbolised these implications. The Ward committee was dominated by members of a certain political party, which caused a lot of tensions and a loss of focus of the structure. However, other ward committees functioned effectively. Their success relied in the fact that they were inclusive structures comprising of all sectors of the community, such as business, taxi association, professionals, and political parties.
One of the challenges the municipality faced, came from the villages which for many years and even up to today are still under the leadership of the chiefs, particularly Bafokeng Royal Nation, the richest tribe in Africa. Independent financially, own hectors of land, rich in platinum, more organised in as far a leadership is concerned and more developed than most of the township in the area. For many years, the Chief refused to succumb to the leadership of the former homeland President; as a result he was forced to go to exile. With his traditional council in place, he refused to recognise ward councillor and ward committees. This created a serious conflict in the municipality.
The first era of the ward committees in the municipality was somehow exciting; communities participated in the naming and framing problems, priorities of needs in their own communities. It was also characterised by lack of knowledge about local government systems, ignorance, conflicts with the municipality, feelings of mistrust and more demands for basic service delivery and protests from the communities.
Not all the wards worked well or too bad. Needs varied from one ward to another, some needed more attention than the other. The municipality experienced a series of complains and demand for the abolishment of the bucket toilets, clean water supply and many more. Some of the respondents reported that they hardly, saw any developments in their own areas, while some speak about the changes they see, the meetings they attended or constant engagement with their ward committee, meeting with their councillors, some said they did not have contact with the ward committees.
Even though problems were experienced, there was much more and continuous engagement and interaction between the community and municipality in various activities of the municipality.
4.3.2 Strengthening the new Ward Committee.
The new ward committees were elected in 2004; the council had learnt some lessons on participatory democracy and were willing to do things correctly, said the former Speaker (2006) and these sentiments were also echoed by the former mayor now the Speaker of the council . Some key objectives as recorded in the amended Municipal by –laws (2004: 299) on ward committees were set to ensure that the Ward committees work as they are intended to, amongst other were:
a) A clear developmental vision and mission of the ward committee was developed.
b) Development framework designed to achieve set objectives and goals of
c) Plans to integrate historically disadvantaged communities in the ward committees
d) A training plan for ward committees was developed.
From this point the municipality, through the office of the Speaker were able to direct the second elections of the ward committees. Most stakeholders and interest groups were identified and notified to the processes of formulating Ward committees. This process was followed by a series of workshops, for about five wards grouped together. A plenary meeting to launch the process of establishing ward committees was held in order to agree about a process for participation. These workshops intended to emphasis on building the capacity and understanding around ward committees’ role and function. The workshop targeted at a full range of stakeholders and role-players among others, the general public, nongovernmental organisations, and community based organisations, the private sector, labour and business. Stakeholders included landowners, shop owners, traditional authorities, churches, schools, civic organisations and resident organisations. The stakeholders and interest groups were identified in conjunction with the Ward councillors in accordance with their respective wards. The pamphlets outlined the procedure, that were prepared by the municipality was distributed widely in the municipality. It was the business of the ward councillors to call meetings and arrange for their own ward elections.
At the beginning, ward committees seemed to work very well with the municipality with some degree of difficulties, because there was a political will from the side of the council, most of the problems were dealt with. Majority of ward committees particularly in the town and urban area functioned with much ease than those in the villages and outskirts of town and surroundings were able to relate, articulate and communicate the aspiration, needs and frustration of the community to the municipality. They were able to speak for the communities they represent, work with the ward councillor, call meetings and were able to resolve problems such as land invasions, dispute in wards they serve, identifying development plans.
The Speaker of the Rustenburg municipality, the then Mayor reports that the ward committees attended a three day capacity building workshops entitled “making you wards committee work”. The aim of the workshop which was attended by at least three members representing each of the 57 ward committees was to ensure that they understand the function of the municipality, the role and function of the ward committees also the developmental programme of the municipality as outlined in the integrated development plan.
Some ward committee members felt the training was effective, they also held the view that it helped the committee members and councillors to understand their role and therefore to become more effective. One committee member, for example said the training and exposure had improved the ward committee participation in the council’s business activities, and wanted to see more of this training.
4.4 Enhancing community participation.
The research reveals that community participation is part of the every day life in the Rustenburg municipality in various ways. This is evident through the ward committee ‘ participation in the IDP process meetings, budgetary process, people attending public meetings, interest shown on attending council monthly meeting, attending community meetings and responding to by- laws.
Some of the ward committee members mentioned that they had been involved in the IDP review, IDP Representative Forums and municipal budget. They also admitted that they acted as link between the IDP Representative Forum and local residents, but the need for such a function was not explained given that most Representative Forum activities are open to the public.
IDP participation typically involved needs identification and prioritisation. Some ward committee members mentioned being able to make input on the project specifically earmarked for their neighbourhood, a potentially more meaning form of participation. Also the committee members mentioned participating in the budget activities. One mentioned the fact that they are the first to receive and discuss the budget in a meeting organised by the ward councillor before it goes to the council.
Even though their participation was more in knowing what has been budgeted, this did not give them the opportunity to say yes or no. It was a mere information or consultation.
Besides participating in the policy matters, ward committees reported to have been involved with monitoring or the provision of free basic services. However when asked to explain their involvement, the only role mentioned was the compilation of list of indigent people within the ward. Many participated in the housing projects, the digging of the trenches for water and sewerage projects, HIV/AIDS campaigns, safer city project, social crime and prevention projects organised by the municipalities. Their participation has not only brought development in the area but also has shaped the local politics and the way people perceived democracy and service delivery in the municipality. There is an increase in rates and tax payments and the relationship between the communities is continuously improving.
It must be emphasised that even though ward committees looked more organised, not many people attend the council or ward committee’s activities. Different reasons for participation established a sense of why some communities participate more vigorously than others. The much wealthier communities, more especially in the Rustenburg suburbs, participated on issues that affected their community and because of their financial background and skills that they have were able to participate more effectively. The poor areas participated more because they needed to survive and their participation was more focus on development participation.
Many communities respond to the ward committee meetings or municipality meetings only when they are affected by either municipal policies or when they are faced with a problem. For an example where the council speaks about the housing, water or basic services delivery problems, those who are affected show much more interest than others. And it’s also known that in most developed communities, people tend to take a backseat towards participation than those who are in serious need.
Through regular ward committee meetings and the community meetings in the wards, the Ward councillor is able to know issues and problems the community experiences, items such as broken street lights, electricity, water queries on bill are discussed. This enables the ward councillor through municipality to deal effectively with problem as they arise.
Ward committee meetings serves as:
• A forum to organise and discuss community issues relating to poverty, unemployment in the ward
• An opportunity for the ward councillors to distribute and share the intentions or monthly goals of the municipality
• A platform to share information and strategies between different sector leaders
• A forum to highlight problems and challenges experienced in the ward and to seek solutions.
Participation in Ward committees have been better through organised forums, community based organisations, unions and political structures. Many individual forums have not shown their interest in participating in the ward committee; but they have also found ways to manage their relationship with the council directly.
Various issue based organisations such as those working on HIV/ AIDS, Policing and unemployment are now part of the municipal data base and sector forums which are constantly engaging each other on issues of concern. It must be mentioned that many of the community members who do not participate in such community based structures’ interviewed claimed not to know who their ward committee members are; they also mentioned that the council only comes to them when they needed votes. They also acknowledged that the municipality has been trying very much to improve people’s lives, but not so much difference has been seen.
As Monyemangene puts it (1997:24) Participation is the key role of citizens in local democracy and governance. It is not only their right, it is also their duty. Citizen participation builds a better democracy. Citizens get to choose their leaders but also join and play a role in community development in various ways.
4.5 Challenges of Ward Committees participation in the Rustenburg Municipality
Ward committees have been the focus of considerable attention by government as well as civil society, with substantial investment already made in an attempt to ensure that these structures have the necessary capacity and resources required for them to fulfil their envisaged roles as the “voice” of communities. At the same time, questions have been asked about how effective these institutions actually are; whether they are useful conduits for community involvement in local governance; whether, as “created spaces” for public participation, they are inherently capable of playing the critical role expected of them; and whether they create opportunities for real power-sharing between municipalities and citizens.
The mention of ward committees typically solicits quite negative views. Supporters of these structures claim that they provide an important channel for citizens to have their voices heard at local level (especially in a context where there are few existing alternatives for citizens to be involved in governance at local level). However, most observers appear to be critical of ward committees, arguing that most committees in the country are not functioning as intended and that rather than enhancing the environment of participatory governance ward committees has actually undermined it by displacing many other former channels for public participation. Moreover, ward committees are usually viewed as highly partisan structures aligned to party political agendas.
The apparent gap between the promise of enhanced participation through ward committees on the one hand, and the everyday realities of participatory politics on the other hand, suggest the need to understand more fully the barriers and dynamics of participation in local governance, as well as enabling factors and methods that can be used to overcome them.
• New Culture of democratic Practice
The culture of democratic practice is new and people did not know how to constructively engage with local government including ward committees. South Africa has just emerged from a situation where were focused on liberation activities. This caused a pattern of resistance and non co – operation to develop.
While the new local government was legitimate, it was difficult for people to adjust, actually most citizen were readily available to do as the national or provincial government suggest them do than the local government. People generally expected things to change overnight. There was no proper introduction of democracy in development agencies, and people do not simply know how to constructively engage with local government including development agencies. Most importantly communities do not even know that they have a pivotal role to play in the development of democracy and their own environment.
A major concern has to do with the way representation on ward committees is constituted, in particular, the allegation that often arises that ward councillors have a direct hand in picking ward committee members in line with their political affiliations. This has given rise to the charge that ward committees are often merely extensions of political party structures and do not encompass the full range of interests within communities. It is also alleged that ward councillors, in their role as chairpersons of the committees, are able to manipulate deliberations and decisions to reflect the mandate of the political party they represent, rather than the real needs and aspirations of the community. As one ward committee member in the Rustenburg municipality is reported to have said:
The problem is that the ward councillors are not independent, they want to be spoon-fed. When we come up with creative constructive ideas, you become a threat to them... When we have elections for ward committee members in our communities, the councillors already have the names of the people they want elected. This situation makes some ward committee members to become pawns of these councillors because they do not contribute, but are told what to do (SA Local Government Briefing, 2005:28).
Piper and Deacon (2008), in research found that ward committees are very often politicised in one of three ways. Firstly, there is “inter-party” competition, in which political parties vie for control of the committees and where the composition of committees is skewed towards supporters of one or other party. Then there is “intra-party competition” in which ward committees have become embroiled in factionalism within political parties, where one or other faction within the party (typically the ANC) use ward committees to secure greater political power. Finally, there is what Piper and Deacon term “policy-competition” where the role of ward committees, rather than the composition, is defined by the political party. In Rustenburg, the latter has apparently been manifested by ward committees in predominantly DA areas refusing to participate in the municipalities ward committee processes, such as the training that was provided for ward committees.
· Low education levels among the poor sector participants
Participation requires knowledge of issues so that they can make a meaningful and mature contribution. Comprehension level of the community, more especially in the villages was largely below the levels of the issues that were normally requiring participation. Issues of development have technical elements. In some cases even the ward councillors could not publicly explain the development decision because they did not understand the technicalities
· Participatory skills
As progress is made from lower to higher levels of participation participatory processes became more complex and demanded a different types of skill, knowledge, experience, leadership and managerial capacities. Many of the ward committee’s members such as ordinary people from the communities, such as youth, miners, housewives, including some councillors had very poor educational qualifications. Many found it difficult to contribute to the discussions. They had difficulties understanding the technical presentation of the municipality. On the other hand, when essential planning skills in the planning process were lacking, they also became obstacle for more meaningful participation for meaningful participation for disadvantaged group. Issues of development have technical elements. In some cases even the councillors could not publicly explain development decisions because they did not understand the technicalities.
· Lack of operation skill
According to some critics, ward committees are fundamentally flawed in operation. As one commentator puts it: “Put simply, ward committees do not work” (Schmidt, 2008:13). Schmidt argues that “There is much research or anecdotal evidence to support this and little research or anecdotal evidence suggesting that there are, in fact, examples of effective ward committees that have had an impact over a sustained period.” Not all observers are quite as critical. Nevertheless, a range of concerns are commonly expressed around the practical functioning of ward committees, which have implications for their effectiveness in enhancing public participation. Some of the typical kinds of challenges that have beset many committees include (Himlin, 2005; Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government, 2003);
o Difficulties in sustaining ward committee members’ participation and interest. In some cases meetings are not held or there are insufficient members to constitute a quorum;
o A high turnover of ward committee members as members lose interest or relocate for work opportunities;
o The chairpersons (ward councillors) not being available to attend meetings or failing to call meetings;
o No clear Terms of References for committees, resulting in ad hoc responses to any matters that arise in the wards;
o Poor working relationships between ward councillors and the committees, with ward councillors sometimes feeling threatened by the committees;
o Related perceptions that some ward committee members have aspirations to become ward councillors, to the extent that they may deliberately try to undermine the ward councillor and derail ward committee processes;
o Insufficient administrative and other resources allocated to ward committees to enable them to function effectively – for example, ward committee members having no money for transport to attend meetings;
o Minutes of meetings not being taken;
o Wards being spread over vast areas, particularly in rural areas, which poses challenges for both the practicalities of ward committees meeting as well as how representative the ten person structure can be of the entire ward area;
o The term of office of ward committees being two years or less, leading to a brain drain as experienced and capacitated members are regularly replaced
· Conflicting interest between Councillors and Ward Committees
Ward committees are chaired by Ward councillors, in most cases conflict erupted due to the fact that the Ward councillors wanted to satisfy their political mandate rather than improving the lives of citizens. It was also found that citizen participation is about power between the citizen and politicians. The problem was the control of ward committees and process of participation, the setting of the agendas; procedures were usually in the hands of the politicians who in some cases were barriers for effective involvement of citizen.
Due to high levels of unemployment and poverty in the municipality, participation comes with expectation of employment. Participation is a voluntary and time –consuming engagement. It calls for people to put aside their own individual commitments for public issue. Given most residents unemployment situation, participation is a major sacrifice to ask from them. This led to high expectations and hopes that employment would be created out of these exercises.
· Lack of capacity building in terms of ward committee development.
Capacity building did not take place on the scale necessary to realise the kind of meaningful participation intended. As a result, the first newly established ward committees could not grow beyond the formative stages. It became apparent they did not know what to do and there was no coherent support for them in terms of organisational guidance.
· Conflict with the traditional leadership
For many years, Traditional leadership owned of land in the municipality areas. The traditional leaders were seen as by their subjects as the main custodians of the land. Some of the dispute arises due to contest of power and control over the land and their subjects. Municipality due to their constitutional responsibility have powers over all the areas. Control by the municipality over the decisions about the nature and structure of participatory channels restricted and undermined the influence of the traditional authorities. Certain powers of traditional structures of decision making were taken away and granted to the Ward councillors and ward committees. As a result frictions between traditional leaders and democratically elected leaders emerged.
· Authority and responsibilities
Another set of issues relates to the limitations of the powers of ward committees. These limitations are legislatively imposed in the first instance – i.e. the Municipal Structures Act confines the powers of ward committees to merely providing advice to ward councillors and receiving inputs from communities. Although the Act makes provision for municipalities to delegate certain powers and duties to ward committees, it would appear that few municipalities have done this in any meaningful sense.
The role of ward committees, as supposedly independent structures rooted within civil society, in monitoring the performance of ward councillors is another contentious issue. At a national Department of Provincial and Local Government conference on community participation in March 2005, there was a strong backlash from representatives of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) against the notion of ward committees playing any role in evaluating or reporting on the performance of ward councillors (Hollands, 2005). Arguably ward committees should have a role in monitoring and evaluating the performance of the municipality within their wards. However, this aspect of the role of ward committees has been poorly defined and implemented.
• Decision Making and powers
Another problem to strengthening participation involved the absence of a strong and determined central authority in providing and enforcing opportunities for participation at the municipality level, as well as lack of political will by local government officers in enforcing the legislation that has been created for the purpose.
One of the key tests of the effectiveness of ward committees is their impact on council decision-making. In this regard, available research suggests that ward committees are in general not having a significant influence on the decisions made by council and how resources are allocated at ward level. Himlin’s (2005) study of ward committees in the City of Johannesburg, for example, noted a sense of frustration on the part of ward committee members that many of their ideas and proposals for improvements in their wards were not being responded to by the council. As Himlin observes, where members feel they are not having an impact, they may sense that their considerable investment of time in ward committee work is wasted and apathy may easily set in.
One of the key impediments to ward committees having an influence on council decision making appears to be the limited power most ordinary ward councillors have within the deliberation processes of municipal councils. As Oldfield (2008:494) points out,
...ward councillors are functionally challenged if there is no explicit way in which ward committee concerns structurally become part of council agenda. Bound by the political party caucus processes and party structures, ward councillors often sit lower in political party hierarchies, with proportional representation councillors shaping party policy decisions.
The power of opposition party councillors to influence council decision-making is even more limited. It is also worth recognising that in many municipalities there is little political contestation, with more or less one party dominance of councils. In such scenarios, there is arguably little incentive for councils to take the demands of opposition councillors seriously.
Chapter 5: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
This study has clearly indicated that citizen participation in Rustenburg municipality has a key to play in the realm of development. Fagence (1977) observed that despite the arguments and counter – arguments for citizen participation, as long as the community find a need to convey or communicate their view to local government; participants find it expedient to consult, and as long as a transparent and democratic governance is in place. In other words development and changing people’s lives is inconceivable without community participation in a democratic society. The issue here is not the question around the necessity participation, but rather the technique and mechanisms suitable for effective participation.
What emerged during this study was that due to the state of flux in the local government including the Rustenburg municipality, compounded by the introduction of new policies, there is still a lot of confusion to the nature of community participation that should occur in the community development. Again at the beginning, the municipality appeared to view community participation as an event a contradictions to the implicit required continuous participation. This view is polarised by the evidently divergent views on the nature of the current and future community development, resultant from the gross inequities of the past, Participation in the Municipality in the earlier stages of the establishment of the ward committees was existent, however at the exclusion of the marginalised communities, such as those in the villages and informal settlement and for the purpose of advancing the apartheid privileges.
It must be pointed out that the Ward committee capacity building had much impact in preparing them to perform their roles and function, without which the Municipality would have not been able to achieve the objectives of the Municipality Structure Act, the creation of the mechanisms to communicate with the community. The performance of the Ward committee relied much on the relationship and the political will of the municipality. The Integrated Development Planning and the participative budgeting process were enlightening to the communities. The participation levels of the communities and community organisations were high, at times were more to rubber stamp ideas generated by technicians and politicians.
In conclusion it is worth mentioning that ward committees are a prime instrument in government’s objective to establish participatory democracy, where citizens are actively involved in making decisions that will impact directly on their lives. They also facilitate the participative requirements embodied in the Constitution and local government legislation.
South Africa is a country which understands the importance of community and ward committees that can enhance community involvement by providing communities with an opportunity to participate in planning and decision making in matters that affect them. Even the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 1996 (Act 108 of 1996) has the principle which says that one of the objects of local government is to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in local government affairs. It goes further by saying that the public must be encouraged to participate in policymaking processes. Thus, local government has a responsibility to actively work out ways to include the community in decision making.
The study has to look at the notion of participatory democracy in developmental local government. In the wider context of a South African public policy, local government’s place has changed dramatically since 1994.
Nowadays the local council represents the interests of the community and as such, the local citizens and groups must be involved in decisions and processes which will affect them. Ward councillors need to promote the involvement of citizens and community groups in the design and delivery of local programs. Furthermore local government can play an important role in promoting job creation and boosting the local economy and this can be achieved through community involvement.
Rustenburg Municipalities face great challenges in promoting human rights and meeting human needs, addressing past backlogs and spatial distortions, and planning for a sustainable future. Local government can only meet these challenges by working together with local citizens, communities and businesses. A key feature of local government is the constitutional entrenchment of democratic governance.
Local government is mandated with developmental functions enabling it to work together with local communities to find sustainable ways to meet the needs of the communities and improve their quality of life. Primarily among the roles which local government has to perform is promoting participatory democracy. An essential route towards attaining this goal would be working with people towards meeting their social, economic and material needs. This concept presents challenges and opportunities for the different actors expected to be involved in the process of development.
It is in the interest of the nation that local government be capacitated and transformed to play a developmental role. Therefore, national government is committed to providing support to enable municipalities to utilise the options and tools put forward in the Local Government White Paper, 1998 to make them more developmental. Developmental local government is intended to make a major impact on the daily lives of South Africans.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996) enshrines the rights of all people in our country to dignity, equality before the law, freedom and security. It affirms our rights to freedom of religion, expression, culture, association and movement, as well as our political, labour and property rights. Thus it is concluded that in the future developmental local government must play a central role in representing our communities, protecting our human rights and meeting our basic needs.
The theory and practice of the field of study have focused on the concept of participatory democracy with the underlying principles of public and participatory government, the origin, the nature and role of ward committees.
Part of the developmental role of local government identified by the Local Government White Paper, 1998 is to build participatory democracy and encourage community participation. Since local government is the most direct interface between the government and the community it should be the best location for the development of a grassroots, participatory, deep-rooted democracy.
The theoretical and empirical analysis of this study have indicated that the challenge is not so much whether participation is appropriate, but rather what is the relevant approach to implement effective participation. The extent of imbalances within the communities is a clear indication that redressing current differences will prove to be a complex and gruelling process that will require maximum alignment between local communities and the municipality.
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