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President Ramaphosa Calls For Mayors To Be Game Changers

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on Executive Mayors to be game changers, serve the communities with honesty, and become part of local government that contributes towards regaining and rebuilding the trust and confidence of society in local government as an important sphere of government.

President Ramaphosa was speaking on Thursday, 08 September 2022, addressing mayors who converged at East London’s International Convention Centre for a two-day Council of Mayors which is being convened by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

President Ramaphosa said the newly elected Mayors and Executive Mayors must rise to the challenge of changing the narrative regarding the image of local government.

“A game-changer in this term of office is needed and required.  In order to show and demonstrate that we are changing the narrative of local government, there must be consequence and accountability management.  This must be the hallmark of restoring the credibility of our municipalities”, President Ramaphosa said.

President Rampahosa impressed upon Mayors and Executive Mayors to appoint professional and competent managers to run municipal administrations.

“What will change the image of local government is when as Mayors and Executive Mayors you advocate for the newly empowered MPACs to play their effective oversight role … and when our council takes collective responsibility to enforce discipline and decisive actions when the Auditor General issues a disastrous audit report against our municipality and hold senior executives accountable,” President Ramaphosa emphasized.

Earlier on the day, President of SALGA Bheke Stofile told the gathering that the primary goal of the Council of Mayors was to bring together Mayors from across the country and provide a platform to focus on addressing challenges experienced as well as an opportunity for the SALGA NEC to get feedback from Mayors and thus enabling SALGA to become more effective in its advocacy work.

The purpose of the Council of Mayors is to provide for a formalized structure in SALGA that will meet at least annually and will focus on addressing challenges experienced by Mayors and a platform that can also be used for learning, sharing and reflecting.

Key to the deliberations, which unfolded in various panel discussions is; the assessment of the transitional progress post the 2021 local government elections which was led by Minister of CoGTA, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Minister Dr Dlamini Zuma urged the Mayors to use the Covid-19 pandemic to reset the country.  “The pandemic has worsened the conditions facing the South African people, increasing poverty and unemployment.

Local government finances: financial management and municipal financial recovery also received a spotlight when Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana connected virtually.

The SCoM is an annual gathering of Mayors and Executive Mayors to focus on addressing challenges experienced in local government. It also serves as a platform for peer learning and sharing best practices in governance. The Council of Mayors will conclude its business on Friday afternoon.