In the lead up to local government elections on Monday, changes to key municipal legislation were branded a step forward in boosting answerability in local government.
Changes to the Municipal Structures Amendment Act (MSA) are set to be a "gamechanger" in ensuring newly elected officials are held accountable during their term of office, according to the manager of the Local Government Institutional Establishment at Cogta, Siyanda Nkehli.
"These interventions amongst others include empowering the municipal council speaker with additional functions to ensure that the council effectively fulfils its various responsibilities," said Nkehli.
Speaking at the launch of the Dullah Omar Institute's manual on municipal elections on Monday, Nkehli said the Act includes the establishment of municipal public accounts committees (similar to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in Parliament) and the "beefing up" of the code of conduct for councillors, which has been migrated from the Municipal Systems Act to the MSA.
The new legislation comes into effect on election day.
The speaker now has responsibility over the legislative and executive functions of a municipality as well as ensuring the effectiveness of the council, the establishment of ward committees within 120 days of the election and facilitating public participation processes...