Ward committee elections loom

2016-10-27 06:00

WARD committees are the key to the acceleration of development at grass-roots level and their primary purpose in a political dispensation is for the people to get involved in decision-making processes, says eThekwini municipal spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa.

Ward committee elections are expected to resume next month in all wards under the jurisdiction of eThekwini Municipality.

Mthethwa told the Weekly: “With the city having inaugurated its new council following the 2016 local government elections, the focus has now shifted to the formation of ward committees.

“The elections of ward committees in eThekwini will come into full swing in November,” she said.

Members of ward committees are expected to be the eyes and ears of the councillor and to be proactive in identifying issues.

Mthethwa said that ward committees are meant to encourage community participation while ensuring that council is aware of the needs and concerns of the residents.

“Their job is to also keep people informed of all council activities. Ward committees are an important communication link between residents, ward councillors and the municipality.

“To serve on a ward committee, interested parties must be able to read, be able to debate issues and be a resident of the specific ward. Ward committees are made up of a ward councillor and no more than 10 people, who are elected from the ward. The elected people serve voluntarily for a five-year term. Ward committee members are not employed and volunteer their services, and the municipality gives them a stipend. It also serves as a fare for them to be able to move around and attend to council or service delivery related activities,” she said.

However, Mthethwa said the ward councillor chairs the committee and is responsible for organising meetings and setting the agenda.

“The ward committee may set the agenda if the councillor has other commitments. This structure is service delivery orientated. It is an advisory body that can make recommendations to council. It does however, have the power to make decisions on its own,” he added.

Ward 60 councillor Fakazi Mdletshe said: “Interested individuals who are willing to serve in the ward committee must be driven by a passion to work for the entire community. They must also serve in the community irrespective of race and political affiliation.

“It is vitally important to deliver service to the community and we hope all elected individuals will serve our communities with dignity and respect.”

Ward 106 councillor Johnson Chetty said: “The primary purpose of the ward committee in our political dispensation is for the people in our communities to actively participate in decision-making on a grass-root level. The municipality provides critical services like waste removal, sewerage, water, electricity and more to residents.

“As the ward councillor, my appeal is to members of the various districts to actively participate in this process on a date and venue to be announced.

“Failure on the part of the residents to participate can and will result in the ward committee becoming hijacked again,” he said.

To serve on a ward committee, interested parties must be able to read, be able to debate issues and be a resident of the specific ward. Ward committees are made up of a ward councillor and no more than 10 people, who are elected from the ward. The elected people serve voluntarily for a five-year term

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