South Africa

Voters as shareholders of local government

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared November 1, the date of the municipal elections, to be a public holiday. If the day could be juxtaposed with the annual general meeting of large companies, voters would not underestimate their power as shareholders of local communities.

Like a shareholder of a large company, in which you have an interest and know that you have invested a large sum of money, you would not miss the AGM.

The time has come for voters to learn and accept the value of their vote in the municipal sector, as part of the commonly known phrase “nothing for us without us”.

The South African Association of Local Governments (Salga) called on the shareholders of the municipal company to double the value of their investment by ensuring that on November 1 they take the window of opportunity to invest in their company in order to increase their amount and better their chances of improving the value they deserve.

It is their democratic right and civic duty to elect new leaders and influence service delivery where they live, as shareholders would when necessary in business.

This year’s election is taking place against a backdrop of dissatisfaction with service delivery and the way some political parties have abused their power during the local government’s five-year tenure. Additionally, a few eligible youth have ignored calls to register to vote and simply will not vote as a form of boycott – failing to see the importance of their democratic right to vote. It is sad.

Some pockets of excellence in parts of local government will be overshadowed by the voting taking place against the backdrop of declining overall voter turnout in 2019. A similar trend was seen in the November 2016 local elections.

Unlike in business, shareholders would not express their dissatisfaction by abstaining from voting as they would at a general meeting. They used the day to reward top performing directors or punish them for bringing the business down, after having had the opportunity and lifetime privilege to represent and defend the interests of the business.

We have a responsibility to teach citizens that, just like in business, shareholders meet annually to elect directors and approve their actions. Shareholders are citizens, communities and taxpayers. The Constitution gives them the power to review and renew the term and actions necessary to lead the government during a democratic term.

When the board of directors is appointed, it should ensure that returns on investments and equity are realized, returns on equity and returns on investment and continuously create stability for the company, so that these objectives are achieved in a sustainable manner.

The shareholders of the local collectivities of the company called the local collectivity oppose the investments (political parties and the general public) coming from the aforementioned shareholders such as the collectivities and political parties. They will leave everything and continue to queue while waiting for the moment to vote and elect councilors, like at a general meeting.

The shareholders, being the communities, expect returns on investment. The return is provided with quality services, their requests are dealt with promptly and the best opportunities available to them by the government of their choice.

Local government is made up of a council, the administration and the community. What we have seen in many cases is that after the elections, the community will abdicate its role of shareholder for the duration of the term of the local government, only to be visible during protests. This goes against the spirit of participatory democracy where effective democracy requires the combination of council to work with the community.

While elected councilors make the ultimate decisions once elected to power, communities should be consulted as much as possible.

Councilors should keep residents informed of decisions made by council and ensure that communities participate in local government decision-making through a variety of methods, including neighborhood committees, consultation meetings, calls for public comment on issues. issues and stakeholder meetings.

Salga has expressed concern that nearly 69% of counselors have only one registration or less. Shareholders, as voters, in this case, should advocate for a multi-pronged strategy that recognizes leadership skills, political leadership, and perhaps some degree of academic qualifications.

Communities and political parties must take into account the caliber of councilors.

* Chairman of Bheki Stofile’s South African Local Government Association Working Group for Governance and Councilor Empowerment.

** The opinions expressed here may not be those of the IOL.

Voters as shareholders of local government

SourceVoters as shareholders of local government

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