A delegation of joint committees from Kwazulu-Natal Legislature of South Africa on Wednesday paid a courtesy call on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to tap into the ministry’s strategy on Local Governance.
The delegation, which comprised the portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and standing committee on Public Participation and Petition (PPP) was also to learn Ghana’s leadership role in the independence of Africa.
Ms Gloria N. Swartbooi-Ntombeia, Leader of the delegation, said they found it relevant to tap the expertise from an African state like Ghana because the systems in both countries were not very different.
She said the delegation was willing to receive local governance suggestions from Ghana and implement same in South Africa as both countries worked for the advancement of the African continent.
“Among other things that we would like to learn from you is how you have managed to ensure that traditional leaders remain relevant and play active role in current development,” she said.
Ms Swartbooi-Ntombeia wanted to know the kind of support systems for chiefs to ensure that they had adequate funds to carry out their mandates, adding that, the department of COGTA in South Africa had a programme in place to support effective functionalities of traditional leadership.
She said South Africa believed in the existence of traditional leaders and structures and wanted to improve on their mandates in order to deal with issues pertaining to culture and tradition in their local municipalities.
Ms Swartbooi-Ntombeia said although South Africa had tried to improve on its sanitation, water and electricity, there was still the need to address some challenges confronting the country in those areas.
She also identified limited budget, high number of vacancies due to lack of required skills and difficulties related to supply chain management as some challenges of operations in municipalities in her country.
She was therefore poised to learn Ghana’s approach of helping its municipalities in dealing with such challenges and the programmes the Ministry had in place to support the development of small towns.
Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said the Ministry was to share with and learn ideas from the delegation to help in the development of the African continent.
She said her outfit was willing to share ideas on service delivery and its relation to employment at the local level in the Ghanaian context.
Hajia Mahama said her outfit was engaged in a discussion on the issues of internally generated funds and the financial support systems that existed for the local government system of Ghana.
According to her, the Ministry was going to share with them the collaboration that existed between the Local Government Ministry and other ministries as well as the issues pertaining to procurements.
She said although municipalities and district assemblies relied on common fund from the central government, some municipalities could legally generate internal funds through licenses, levies and property rates.
She said the Ministry was developing the capacity of district and municipal assemblies by supporting them in property evaluation, street naming and effective funds generations on properties.