Newcastle Municipality ward committee members inaugurated
Following the Ward Committee Elections that took place from the 19th of November 2016 to the 20th of January 2017, an inauguration ceremony was held for the 340 elected ward committee members at Richview Hall on the 26th of January 2017.
The election process, facilitated and conducted by the service provider; One of Five Collections, visited all 34 wards with the aim to provide sustainable municipal services to the Newcastle communities and introduce a system of a structured community participation in the activities of the municipality.
The inauguration ceremony led by the Office of the Speaker together with the Public Participation unit was chaired by Programme Director, Strategic Executive Director for Development Planning & Human Settlements; Ms Nokuthula Thusi, and comprised of two sessions. The elected ward committee members swore under oath under the leadership of Speaker; Cllr JCN Mam Mkhwanazi.
During his observations, Newcastle Mayor Cllr EM Nkosi accentuated the importance of being a ward committee. “We as the municipality inaugurate you today as leaders that have been elected by your communities, it is therefore your duty to put the communities that elected you first. Being a leader is not about being in power, it is about the responsibilities given unto you to represent and be leading examples in your wards”, said Nkosi.
“I understand that all the elected ward committee members derive from different political spheres, however, being a ward committee is not a platform to contest ideas of politics but you are viewed as vehicles for a movement towards a better community”, alluded the Mayor.
In her address, the Speaker congratulated the elected ward committee members and highlighted the main functions of a ward committee. “The primary function of a ward committee member is that you are elected to serve your ward. As the voices of your community you need to encourage and facilitate dialogue between council and local people within your wards, with the view of maximising influence over the way the municipality functions”, she emphasised.
“You need to also engage and ensure that our communities participate in IDP and budget processes in maintaining a smooth co-ordination through a structured engagement within the municipal council to provide feedback to our communities”.
“Lastly, as a ward committee member you need to support and respect the position of a councillor. A councillor is the integral part of the election process of ward committees thus they are recognised as the chairperson”, concluded the Speaker.
The second session of the event, chaired by the Department of Co-operative Governance inducted the ward committee members on the Code of Conduct and the Roles and Responsibilities of Ward Committee Functionality.