Local Democracy in Action: A Civil Society Perspective on Local Governance in South Africa is the culmination of eighteen months of research by the members of the network. The project has sought to produce a civil society-based assessment of the key challenges, debates and areas of progress with regard to local governance and development in South Africa, and to provide local government policy-makers and practitioners with practical recommendations to improve policy, guidelines, systems and interventions where necessary.
civil society organising
While more South Africans than ever before have access to basic services like water and sanitation, most people perceive local government to be in crisis, with many municipalities incapable of managing finances, delivering basic services and complying with legislation.
Even so, over the last 10 years, local government legislation has become entrenched with ordinary people participating directly in their own governance. The success of two local government elections has also marked the consolidation of formal political democracy at local level.
On behalf of CAF Southern Africa, I would like to enter the public conversation on resourcing for civil society which has been taking place in various media over the past few months. For example, in a recent Sunday Times article, Andile Ncontsa of the Old Mutual Foundation states:
The budget still failed to address major concerns around job generation and poverty alleviation strategies. The reality in South Africa is that the economy has been unable to absorb labour sufficiently quickly into the economy and as a result, the level of unemployment continues to increase. This in turn affects levels of poverty within the country which in turn impacts negatively on issues such as crime, for example. The assertion that the Government has created 1.5 million jobs over the past five years has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
On 24 August 2007, the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) met with various civil society organisations (CSOs) in Johannesburg to review the ‘Policy Process on the System of Provincial and Local Government'. The gathered organisations were asked to provide inputs that will help develop and review the process of formulating a new White Paper on provincial government.