Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor has made a clarion call to Councillors and senior municipal managers to rally behind and commit to the Back to Basics Strategy that has been adopted by government to improve efficiency, accountability and delivery at local government level.
The Executive Mayor made this call while addressing a workshop on the Back to Basics Strategy that was called by the Office of the Speaker to assist Councillors and senior municipal managers with the implementation of the pillars of this strategy. The workshop was conducted by a high powered delegation from national Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs officials, led by Deputy Director General, Thozi Faba, who is also a head of the Back to Basics Strategy and Programme. Present at the workshop were Councillors, led by the Executive Mayor, Cllr Benson Fihla, and executive directors, directors and assistant directors.
The Executive Mayor stated that the time had come that the Municipality mastered the basic things, like Councillors calling report-back meetings on a regular basis, officials being strictly monitored and officials sticking to the Batho Pele principles as they carried out their responsibilities. “It is not right when our Councillors are not known to their own constituencies. It can never be right when officials do as they please, and lack accountability and passion to serve the people. The Back to Basics workshop has reminded us why we are here and of our responsibility to deliver, no matter what the difficulties. It has reminded us that if we can master the basic thing that we see as small, it will be a starting point for the Municipality to deliver services efficiently, on time and of a good quality,” said Executive Mayor Fihla.
The Back to Basic Strategy is about responding vigorously to immediate needs, understanding and responding to structural challenges, building resilient local government institutions and collectively shaping intergovernmental planning and delivery.
When announcing the Strategy late last year, Cooperative Governance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, said tthat he new strategy was in line with President Jacob Zuma’s vision that local government had to be in the forefront of improving people’s lives and creating conditions for inclusive economic growth and job creation.
“Back to Basics will ensure that in every municipality traffic lights are working, potholes are filled, water is delivered, refuse is collected, electricity is supplied, and refuse and waste management takes place,” he said.
Following the workshop, the Municipality will be expected to write a report in the format of the Back to Basics reporting template where it will be reflected how far the Municipality has come in terms of the Back to Basics Strategy. The report would also reflect on how the Municipality was overcoming its challenges that hampered delivery regarding some of the aspects of the Back to Basics Strategy. The delegation from Cooperative Governance is expected to come back to the City within two months to interrogate the report and advise the Municipality on the strategies, methods and systems it can use to improve the situation in order to be compliant with the Back to Basics Strategy.
The reporting template, which forms the key pillars of the Back to Basics Strategy, covers the following areas: Putting people first, Delivering Basic Services, Good Governance, Sound Financial Management and Capacity Building.
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