By BHONGO JACOB
The newly appointed councillors from the Chris Hani District are undergoing a five day induction programme by the South African Local Government Association ( SALGA) at the Gali Thembani centre. Salga provincial executive officer in the Eastern Cape Gcinikhaya Mpuza said the programme which started on Monday ends today and would equip the councillors with leadership skills.
“This is what we call the integrated councillor programme that we are running throughout the country. In 2011 the programme was over two days and the research work we have done as Salga tells us that we had to design a new comprehensive programme which is more of a learning journey.
We achieved the goals in 2011 but we realised that we overloaded them and now we have decided to stretch it to five days so that it can be done perfectly and we have developed a manual that is simple and within reach of their language and will be a tool that they can use for the next five years. It raises all the laws and process and procedures of the municipality.”
The councillors have been going through a number of modules to build their capabilities and understanding of local government. “We want them to know the local government space and the
laws that are regulating local government sector. We take them through ethical leadership as well as visionary and thought leadership so that at all times they must be the servants of the people. We want skilled leaders who can be in a position to provide services as quick as possible and take decisions within law,” he said.
“This is just the beginning because this is a learning pathway we have developed and it is phased into three sections. In the second phase they will be trained in their own councils and the third phase is where we will have a portfolio based training where they will be linked to e -learning. They must continue to learn because the white paper on local government characterises local government as a leading and learning sector because they have a huge responsibility of coordinating and integrating policy and service delivery at local government level so they must be ready for that.”
Traditional leaders from the area have also been included. “We are bringing the new and the old councillors into the system as well as traditional leaders , we want them as a united front in the municipal sphere so that they will fulfil the objects of local government as outlined in the constitution. The councillors are also taken through accountability framework. They must go back and report that they have been inducted in their communities so they must give feedback into the community. We are preparing them to understand that they will be held accountable,we are not developing them to be thick skinned , we want them to be responsive to community needs at all times and they must know that they are there to serve.”