SALGA equips new councillors with the Integrated Councillor Induction Programme Following the local government elections held in South Africa on 1 November 2021, the newly elected councillors were sharpened with training under the auspices of the SA Local Government Association this week.
Hosted by celebrity broadcaster Cathy Mohlahlana, over 100 councillors gathered at Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni as Salga unveiled the new revamped and digitised Integrated Councillor Induction Programme (ICIP).
Under the theme ‘enabling ethical and dynamic political leadership’, the purpose of the day was to equip the office bearers with skills and expertise as they embark on their five-year terms.
Delivering the keynote address Ebrahim Fakir, renowned political researcher and Ruth First Fellow from Wits University started off by applauding Salga for their successive clean audits as the organisation celebrates 25 years of existence.
Fakir reminded the councillors that elections were a moment of hope and renewal in society.
“There are expectations that have been heightened. Think about the nature, character and mood of society when people went to the elections. There was an air of despondency, desperation and a lack of trust that introduced a credibility crisis,” he said.
He challenged them to take up the opportunity to renew and inspire hope to turn the situation around and define the epoch by being responsive to their needs.
Fakir urged councillors to take their responsibilities as leaders of society reminding them to focus on accountability, responsiveness and communication as key issues.
He added that they should not only pander to their constituency that voted for them but the community that they are meant to serve regardless of the classes in which they find themselves.
Speaking at the conference, deputy minister of Cogta Thembi Nkadimeng said legislation was needed to fit the new times and challenges that councillors face today.
She added that the job of a councillor was a part time job initially, but now needs a more hands on approach.
She shared that councillors were expected to go beyond the call of duty and deal with problems in communities including organizing funerals and helping the indigent receive their IDs.
Rio Nolutshungu Salga’s ICIP Project Leader Official also unveiled the new revamped and digitised ICIP as well as the Leadership Village platform to facilitate training for councillors and enable networking.
Also on the programme was Khaya Ngema, a former local government practitioner, who presented the councillors with an overview of what their responsibilities were.
Some 9 473 newly elected councillors across the country are expected to go through the induction programme, 5 632 are first time office bearers.
Most of them are aged between 40 and 59 years old.A stirring poetry invoking Black pride and efficiency by Kush Mahleka accompanied by Reggie Teys on cello, inspired the guests.
The event was staged under strict Covid protocols including social distancing, masks and sanitisers provided.