Hung councils the outcome of a democratic process 'we all should be pleased about' - Ramaphosa

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa said the 66 hung councils after the elections was the outcome of a democratic process.
  • He said these councils must be made to work to ensure service delivery.
  • National government was committed to supporting municipalities, he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the 66 hung councils after the municipal elections is the product of a democratic process of "which we should all be pleased about".

Addressing the National Assembly the first time after his party failed to muster 50% nationally in an election, Ramaphosa was asked by ANC MP Sakhumzi Somyo how government could create a predictable political and administrative interface and environment for communities under hung councils to ensure that they enjoyed stability, service delivery and regulatory accountability.

"On the 1st of November, the people of South Africa freely and fairly and in conditions of peace and stability voted for the people and party they want to represent them in municipalities. This is the will of the people, and we must accept it whether we are happy with it or not, whether we like it or not," said Ramaphosa, who appeared in good spirits.  

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"While there are certainly particular challenges associated with so-called hung municipalities, these challenges are by no means insurmountable, and they are by no means novel to us. It happens all over the world."

He said while South Africa's recent experience of coalition or minority governments hadn't always been positive, these councils must be made to work for the sake of the country's people, adding:

We must ensure that these councils provide the services that people need and create an environment conducive to the growth of businesses and the creation of employment.

He continued: "Ultimately, this will depend on the political will, commitment and capabilities of the parties and individuals running these municipalities."

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He said the national government was firmly committed to supporting all municipalities to fulfil its responsibility to the people they were elected to serve.

He said it was significant that the Municipal Structures Amendment Act came into effect on the same day that the elections were held.

Service delivery

He said the amendments would go a long way to address many governance challenges and improve sustained service delivery.

He highlighted that the act made it mandatory for all municipal councils to establish Municipal Public Accounts Committees.

Ramaphosa said the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, National Treasury, and South African Local Government Association (Salga) would embark on an intensive councillor induction programme after all municipal councils had been constituted.

"We want to ensure all our newly elected councillors, especially those serving for the first time, receive the appropriate orientation to effectively perform their duties as councillors, and where appropriate, the specific roles and responsibilities that are entrusted to municipal office-bearers, such as speaker, mayor, executive mayor or whip," Ramaphosa said.

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