Minister and MECs must ensure public participation takes place electronically

The civil rights organisation AfriForum directed an urgent letter to Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and the MECs to ensure that any documentation published by municipalities need to be made available on the website of the relevant municipality in terms of Section 75 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

“AfriForum’s 141 branch structures are actively participating in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) processes of municipalities. Due to the lockdown, municipalities must place an intensified focus on electronic communication so that communities can still effectively participate in public participation processes such as municipal budgets and the IDP. The majority municipalities do not comply with this legislation and that is why it is important that the Minister and MECs intervene,” says Morné Mostert, Manager of Local Government Affairs at AfriForum.

The final round of municipalities’ public participation process regarding the IDP and budget usually takes place in March and April. These two documents determine the funding of a municipality’s next financial year and can have a fundamental impact on the finances of a municipality.

Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs at AfriForum, says the provincial department can and must exercise its overview function to ensure that municipalities adhere to legislation. “Provincial departments cannot simply sit back and look how municipalities are deteriorating further. They need to intervene and admonish those municipalities that are defective. If the municipalities don’t abide, Section 139 interventions will need to be considered.”

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