Background:

 Strategies:

The Direct Democracy Forum (The DDF) will, amongst other things, take the following measures:

  • Insist on a division of power between National and Local Government such that political parties engaged in the one cannot at the same time also be engaged in the other (see here).
  • Engage with Academia to develop graduate and post-graduate courses in municipal management.
  • Mandate that municipal managers need such a qualification in order to be employed as a municipal manager.
  • Mandate that all municipalities must be managed by such a graduate.
  • Mandate that all municipal council candidates attend a university course in municipal governance, as a prerequisite for their candidacy.
  • Mandate that all technical managers, such as managers of water treatment plants, sewerage treatment plants, road maintenance resources and such-like, hold a suitable qualification from a University or Technicon in the area of expertise for which they are responsible.
  • Mandate that all technical employees are suitably qualified and certified to perform the functions for which they are responsible
    • that all appointments be based on merit
    • that selection processes be transparent
  • Mandate that mentoring programs be developed to transfer corporate experience and skills from older to younger generations of managers and workers. 
  • Mandate that upward mobility be a requirement of satisfactory job fulfillment. 
  • Mandate that these conditions be fulfilled by, say, year two from the effective dates of these mandates or; 
    • existing employees and managers occupying those positions are engaged in obtaining those qualifications within that period, if necessary as part of the SA’s adult education schemes, and, if needs be, be funded by the State. 
  • In collaboration with professional bodies, develop a manual of Municipal Management Best Practices (MMBP) that will include requirements that proper provision be made for the maintenance of existing infrastructure and that such maintenance be undertaken at regular and prescribed intervals and require that proper planning, budgeting, management, accounting and reporting be practiced.
  • Mandate that municipalities be required to apply all the provisions of the MMBP.
  • Ensure that staff be adequately rewarded for service and job fulfillment, including fulfilling the minimum requirements for planning, budgeting, financial management, reporting and control, amongst others, as set out in the MMBP.
  • Mandate that municipalities be audited annually on their compliance with the provisions of the MMBP.
  • Ensure that all municipalities are adequately funded so as to be able to meet those requirements.
  • To this end the DDF will:
    • Replace all local municipal funding (rates and taxes and such-like) with TEAL sourced funding.
    • Prohibit municipalities from supplying profit based services as a source of municipal funding. 
    • Require that all municipalities that engage private sector service providers for supply of goods or services to the municipality do so under cover of PUBLIC TENDERS under the supervision of a national tender board.
    • Require that where there are no competitive tenders for the supply of such a good or service and where there is a sole possible supplier who can act as a monopoly or a group of suppliers acting as a cartel, such trade will be; 
      • 1) controlled and 
      • 2) subject to the same public scrutiny as if the supplier were a part of the municipality with which it traded.
    • Make it a criminal offence for a municipality to trade with its own employees or their nominees or substitutes.
  • Mandate that each municipality engage in the same processes of deliberative democracy planned for the proposed upper house (the Senate).  To this end:
    • Municipalities will invite council constituents in a random manner to join these deliberative bodies (called Municipal Forums) for a period of one year at a time.
    • That this process be overseen by the IEC or a division of the Constitutional Court
    • Municipalities and councils satisfy the resolutions of municipal forums arising from such deliberations.
    • Council resolutions require the overwhelming approval of Municipal Forums. 
    • Municipalities develop Municipal Forums to be representative of a broad cross-section of a municipality’s constituents, as the proposed Senate is also representative of a broad cross-section of its constituents.
  • Mandate that the terms of office of a municipal council and office bearers (mayors and such-like) be limited to one year cycles.  Put another way, all councilors and office bearers will be required to resign at the year end and stand for re-election in order to serve for a new year.

Benefits:

The DDF believe that the following advantages will accrue from these measures:

  • Better funding of municipalities.
  • Professional and educated municipal managers and department. managers, and skilled and trained workers.
  • Only permit the appointment of qualified personnel as Municipal and department managers.
  • Have a national and unified code of practice (the MMBP manual) for municipalities and their constituencies’ reference and compliance.
  • Have the MMBP applied to all municipal management in all municipalities.
  • Limit the activities of municipalities to a not for gain provision of municipal services.
  • Cessation of municipalities trading with staff members, managers and councilors.
  • Control of public tenders by a third party authority.
  • Provide greater transparency in allocation of tenders and third party service delivery.
  • Provide greater accountability and transparency and oversight on service delivery through the deliberative democratic processes of the Municipal Forums and the one year terms of office for councils and office holders.
  • Have additional oversight through MMBP audit processes
  • Improved transfer of skills and knowledge between generations of managers and workers.
  • Improve upward mobility and career prospect for skilled employees.
  • Develop an ethic of service delivery by municipalities to their customers.
  • Deliver a more professional and satisfactory service.

Conclusion:

The DDF intend to transform those municipalities which are under-skilled, underfunded and unprofessional into organisations that are highly professional, properly funded, skilled and motivated and are capable and eager to deliver impeccable levels of service to their customers and constituents.