The Speaker as the Chairperson of the Municipal Council is responsible for ensuring that discussions and debates within the Council
are conducted in a fair and impartial manner. This is done by ensuring that the Rules and Orders Policy of the Municipality is properly applied during the proceedings of Council. The Rules and Orders Committee, chaired by the Speaker, is responsible for the review of the policy in order to ensure consistency and accuracy of the Council deliberations. The resolutions taken by the Municipal Council have to be implementable and the Speaker has to ensure that the policy guidance is always adhered to in capturing and ultimate implementation of council resolutions.
The Municipal Council has instituted its Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) in a manner defined by the National Treasury and endorsed by both the Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs (DCoGTA) and South African Local Government Association (SALGA). There is a continuous capacitation of MPAC members jointly coordinated and facilitated by the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs (DLG&TA) and SALGA through workshops and training. Matatiele Local Municipality is held high by the office of the Auditor General with regard to its accounting practices and the Speaker believes that the strengthening of the oversight role of MPAC will make the Municipality continue as the “Ambassador for clean Audit”.
Another important area that is in the Speaker’s Heart, is the issue of public participation and the effective handling of community queries and petitions. The Public Participation and Petitions Committee which is a committee of Council have been established and will be capacitated in handling queries and petitions during the Financial Year 2012/13.
The Whippery Committee which is chaired by the Chief Whip of Council is operational, but has to be capacitated in order for it to be able to manage cooperation amongst parties represented within the Municipal Council. There are various overlaps in some functions of the Speaker and Chief Whip. They are both responsible for the maintenance of discipline and order within the Municipal Council and amongst Councillors. The importance of the Whippery Committee need not be overemphasised when one considers the multi-party character of our municipality.
Public Education and Public Participation is the responsibility of the office of the Speaker. Although Customer Care in the same way as Communication, Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) and Protocol are the responsibility of the Municipal Manager as an Accounting Officer, but the Speaker has got an oversight role to play in both. In line with this understanding, the Office of the Speaker working together with the Communications, IGR and Protocol will be engaging in Community Needs assessment process at the beginning of 2012/13 financial year. The Community Needs Questionnaire which is user friendly has been developed for the purpose of ensuring that community education is enhanced within the Municipality.
It is necessary for communities to be educated that both sections 79 and 80 committees are committees of Council with the Executive Committee as the primary committee of Council chaired by the Honourable Mayor. This calls upon the Speaker to ensure that all Councillors (Cllrs) are capacitated to handle deliberations within the Municipal Council. This will include training of all Cllrs in the management of Municipal Affairs.
Public Participation and Petitions Policy which is in a draft form will be communicated to communities in 2012/13 Financial Year and it is expected that all stakeholders within the municipality will be afforded an opportunity to participate and input in deliberations before the policy is adopted by the Municipal Council. This exercise will assist in correctly locating the role of all stakeholders including Traditional Leaders within the wards of our municipality. The role of ward committees and Community Development Workers is critical in ensuring that public involvement and participation is effectively enhanced. The Municipality has introduced the system of Ward Clerks in order to capacitate Ward Councillors in execution of their responsibilities within wards. We also acknowledge the role played by Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) within our communities and their participation in policy formulation on public participation remains fundamental.
Cllr Nomasomi Mshuqwana
Telephone Number: 039 737 8105