It’s in your hands — pick the right councillor to serve you well

2016-03-28 12:00
A woman casts her ballot in Portugal's presidential election in Oeiras. (Armando Franca, AP)

A woman casts her ballot in Portugal's presidential election in Oeiras. (Armando Franca, AP)

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Pietermaritzburg - With the highly-anticipated local government elections approaching, it is time for residents to stand up and elect the best candidate as their ward councillor.

Residents should be looking out for honest, respectful and understanding people, said Msunduzi acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda.

“The councillor must have the support of residents in their ward, should have a basic understanding of budgeting and the local economy and understand the needs of the community,” said Madonda.

A ward councillor is the interface between the residents and the administration of the city.

“The ward councillor is the de facto mayor of his or her ward.”

“I also believe that the roles and functions of the ward councillor, if exercised with diligence could very well earn them respect as a true leader,” said Msunduzi public participation officer Musawenkosi Mchunu.

He added that if the ward office is efficient and effective, “it can go beyond the provision of municipal services to its residents”.

A councillor should ensure that all the plans and budgets for their ward are delivered effectively and efficiently.

“The councillor is not the implementor but the eyes and ears of the community,” Madonda said.

Having an effective, approachable and easily accessible ward councillor is highly important as they are consulted for all major decisions in their wards.

The municipal speaker’s office is entrusted with the public participation therefore all good and bad stories relating to the ward or councillor should be reported to the speaker’s office.

Ward meetings with the community should take place at least once every quarter in the five years a councillor holds office.

“Councillors would then report community grievances to the relevant managers and if need be the municipal manager or even further to the mayor,” added Madonda.

She urged community members to use their ward councillor’s office as their front desk when dealing with anything in their wards.

“The councillor’s office has all the tools of trade as well as a full-time ward assistant financed by the municipality. Wards also have 10 committee members who are also elected at the beginning of a council term and they assist the councillor in carrying out their duties,” she said.


• Municipal elections are held every five years to elect councillors who will be responsible for governing a municipality for the next five years. Municipal councils ensure the smooth running of services that impact on the daily lives of citizens in their areas, including water, electricity and sanitation.

• The exact date of the 2016 municipal elections will only be known when the election is officially proclaimed by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

In terms of the Constitution the election must be held between May 18 and August 16.

• Want to vote in the 2016 municipal elections? Find out more about who can register as a voter, when and where to register, and what documents you need to register.

If you have moved since the last election, find out when and how to re-register on

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  election  |  voting

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