A Ward Committee establishment and capacity building training toolkit, developed and produced by the Department of Local Government (DLG): Western Cape Government (WCG), is currently in distribution to various municipalities.
The toolkits were officially handed over by Ms Buyiswa Jack, Deputy Director, DLG: WCG, at Eden District Public Participation and Communication Forum (Eden PPCOM) held on 31 March 2016 at the Eden DM. Officials were captivated by the content of the toolkit, which covers everything there is to know about ward committee systems.
Since the inception of the ward participatory system in 2001, ward committees have emerged as a key institutional mechanism intended to bring about a people centered approach, democratic and fair. The key focus of this initiative is to enhance participatory democracy through functional and effective ward committees, as well as active participation by community members in moving government forward. It is suggested that ward committees should be established within 90 days after the inauguration of the newly elected municipal council.
The Eden PPCOM has been and will be actively involved in crafting the ward committee establishment process plan, which provides guidance in respect of the following phases:
- Pre-establishment : Municipalities embark on community mobilisation and awareness, encouraging relevant role players to participate in the ward committee establishment (sectors, organisations, NGO’s and CBO’s). A registration process shall ensure that applications for registration serve on ward committees and are availed to interested groups or individuals.
- Establishment: Within 3 months after the inauguration of the a municipal council.
- Post – establishment: Capacity building/training to be conducted immediately after establishment. Roll-out of community awareness, roles and responsibilities of ward committees.
Eden District IDP Co-ordinator, Ms Celeste Domingo quoted from the Toolkit, “All citizens are encouraged to be responsible citizens, by actively participating in the affairs of the municipality and should take charge of their livelihood (schools, clinics, community halls, libraries)”.