Local Government partners South Africa

The Australian aid programme to South Africa seeks to build the capacity of the public sector and alleviate poverty in the community. As part of this programme, assistance will be provided to strengthen the Local Government system.

Democratic Local Government in South Africa was established in 1996. In 1998 the South African Government published a White Paper which outlined the critical role Local Government has to play in rebuilding local communities as the basis for a democratic, integrated, prosperous and truly non-racial society.

A radical redrawing of Local Government boundaries, which reduced the number of municipalities from 864 to 287, culminated in elections on 5 December 2000. This was intended to consolidate and redistribute resources amongst formerly racially segregated areas, and to strengthen the capacity of Local Government to fulfil its mandates.

The Governance Partnership

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), which administers the Australian Aid Program, has provided technical assistance to Local Government for a number of years.

South Africans working in Local Government consider that Australia has much expertise and experience to offer. A Governance Partnership will seek to build capacity for efficient, effective and equitable provision of essential services and infrastructure by municipalities, in cooperation with provincial agencies and other key stakeholders.

This objective focuses the project by indicating that all activities should make a contribution to improving the performance of municipalities in service delivery. It also recognises the fact that Local Governments do not deliver services in isolation, and that better service delivery depends in part on more effective working relationships amongst all those involved particularly improved intergovernment relations.

The Australian project will help to strengthen the systems of local governance and will involve councils, Local Government associations, provincial governments and national agencies in the two pilot provinces of Free State and KwaZulu Natal. Specific capacity building initiatives will be undertaken in the areas of intergovernment relations, financial and performance management, development planning and improving service delivery, giving particular attention to the needs of rural local government.

AusAID hopes to promote the establishment of long term partnerships between South African and Australian counterparts as one means of facilitating sustainable outcomes.Project activities will comprise a coordinated mix of technical assistance, staff exchanges between South African and Australian partners, study tours, seminars and other forms of information exchange/dissemination.

By the conclusion of the project, AusAID and its South African partners expect to have made significant improvements in the operation of cooperative intergovernmental frameworks.

Improvements will be made in development planning systems, financial and performance management within municipalities and in the efficiency and effectiveness of municipal service delivery amongst a cross-section of municipalities.

AusAID would like to encourage Australian Local Government institutions to be involved in this exciting partnership with South Africa. If you would like to know more about the project the full project design can found at www.ausaid.gov.au/business/upcoming_opps or by contacting Keith Joyce on (02)62064978 or email keith_joyce@ausaid.gov.au