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By Citizen Reporter


Joburg council speaker suspends sittings and public engagement sessions

The decision was taken in line with the regulations gazetted by Cogta minister Dlamini-Zuma directing municipalities to suspend all council sittings during the 21-day lockdown.

More than halfway through the official lockdown period, the speaker of the council in the City of Johannesburg, Nonceba Molwele, suspended all scheduled council sittings, Section 79 meetings and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) public engagement sessions.

According to a statement issued by the city, the decision was taken in line with the regulations gazetted by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, which directs municipalities to suspend all council sittings during the 21-day lockdown.

“The speaker and the legislature are committed to ensuring that the public’s constitutional right to participate in the running of government is protected. In due course, and guided by the law, the office of the speaker as the custodian of the city’s public participation will communicate a process that will commence the IDP public consultations,” said the city. 

The information will be disseminated through various mediums, including newspapers, e-mails, community radio stations, social media and other suitable forms of communication.

The IDP is a community-driven government plan developed by a municipality in terms of the Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000 and the Municipal Finance Management Act, 56 of 2003.

“It places people at the centre of development and allows the government to implement the needs of the people.”

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Furthermore, legislation dictates that municipalities prepare the IDP process plan 10 months before the beginning of the new financial year.

“The council of the city of Johannesburg had approved the IDP process for the 2020/21 financial year, which started in August 2019. This in line with Section 17 of the MFMA, which prescribes that the mayor of the municipality must table an annual budget at a council meeting at least 90 days before the start of the financial year. This must include supporting documents such as the IDP, tariffs and the corporate scorecard.”

Due to the aforementioned regulations, the council meeting meant to take place on 31 March where the executive mayor, Geoffrey Makhubo, was scheduled to table the draft 2020/21 IDP had to be cancelled. 

Furthermore, the directives in sections 6.7.3 direct municipalities during the initial 21-day lockdown period, or any other extended period of the lockdown that may be declared, to:

(a) Suspend all council meetings.

(b) Not convene any meeting, including the IDP meetings, community and consultation processes or meetings for the consideration and passing of budgets.

The tabling of the 2020/21 draft IDP to council was scheduled to start a process of public consultation on IDP and budget to solicit comments before the IDP and budget adoption by council in June. 

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