Annual Report 2017

Afesis-corplan is proud to present our Annual Report for 2017. Find out about all the exciting projects we are working on and the progress, successes, lowlights and lessons we are learning as an organisation.

Annual report 2017




The narrative that continues to associate state capture with Zuma is a lazy one

By Nontando Ngamlana

There has been great public interest in the phenomenon dubbed ‘state capture’ since the revelation of the Gupta influence on ministerial and other senior institutional leadership appointments. Rightly so because the collusion of business and public representatives in ways that advance their personal and business interests over public good cripples the state from effectively delivering on its transformative socio-economic mandate. However, the spotlight shone on the negative impact of the Gupta-Zuma relationship took attention away from the capture of institutions in the other spheres of government. The VBS saga facilitated a moment in which the country was forced to confront the extent of looting of state resources across all government.

Click here for the full article.




Glenmore Sports Field Refurbishment

[IN CASE YOU MISSED IT]: Here’s our Executive Director, Nontando Ngamlana’s widely publicised media statement on the refurbishment of the Glenmore Sports Field by the Ngqushwa Local Municipality.

Click to open.

Refurbishment of Glenmore Sports Field by the Ngqushwa Local Municipality Press statement

For background and more information about Glenmore, view the following articles on our website:

Accounting for Basic Services (ABS): Participatory Budgeting

Afesis in Action March 2017: Participatory Budgeting

Glenmore residents start petition to get their sports field rectified

Glenmore residents march to the Ngqushwa local municipality




State of Local Governance 2018 publication launch

The theme of the 2018 State of Local Governance (SoLG) publication, Development Local Government: Dream Deferred? centres around three milestones – the 20 year anniversary of the White Paper on Local Government, the 15-year anniversary of the Good Governance Learning network and the 10th State of Local Governance (SoLG) publication.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s vision for local government. The White Paper on Local Government is regarded as a landmark policy, the purpose of which was to create a new vision for local government thereby rectifying apartheid inequities. Within this broad developmental vision, local government is tasked with an ambitious developmental objective of helping to create a better life for all.

The State of Local Governance 2018 builds on the previous nine publications, and was launched on the 27th August 2018 in Cape Town.

To read the full publication click here.

Afesis-corplan presented its research paper titled, ‘Do Ward Committees Assist Municipalities to Achieve Developmental Goals? A Case Study of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality’ authored by Nontando Ngamlana and Sikhander Coopoo. The paper illustrates a research project undertaken by Afesis-corplan to assess the effectiveness of the functions of ward committees, outside of the primary function of facilitating inclusive participation in local governance decision making. Using Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality as a case study, the paper specifically investigates the extent to which ward committees contribute to the attainment of the development goals of local government.

The launch was opened by Andries Nel (Deputy Director, COGTA).

View Andries Nel’s speech here.




Accounting for Basic Services: Policy Briefs

In order to improve accountability and to ensure that communities’ democratic rights go beyond a simple vote towards active political participation and engagement, efforts need to be made to capacitate and enable citizens to do so. In 2016-2018, Afesis-corplan, the Built Environment Support Group (BESG), the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) Southern Africa Office, Isandla Institute and PlanAct have jointly implemented a project entitled “Accounting for basic services: Tackling the inadequate use of resources by municipalities and building a rights-based approach to service delivery” – referred to as the ABS Project. The project has been supported by the EU Delegation to South Africa.

The ABS Project has developed a number of policy briefs, focusing on key issues that have been identified during the course of the project. The purpose of these briefs is to highlight the issue identified (e.g. inadequate access to basic services), outline the policy and institutional context (including the legal framework, municipal policies, intergovernmental relations, roles and responsibilities), identify challenges, gaps and opportunities, and make recommendations for policy and practice/uptake of policy.

Policy brief 1: Local Government Responsibility to provide Basic Services to Indigent Households

Full version

Summary version

The Constitution highlights the right of all citizens to have access to basic levels of services. This principle is underpinned by the National Indigent Policy, which says that municipalities must provide free basic services (FBS) to indigent people in a sustainable manner. The Indigent Policy’s aim is therefore to alleviate poverty in disadvantaged communities by providing free basic water (at least 6 kilolitres per month), free basic electricity (at least 50 kWh per month), and subsidised sewerage and sanitation as well as solid waste management (up to R50 per month or 100% subsidy to indigent households).

Policy brief 2: The Reality of Insecure Environments

Full version

Summary version

Rapid urbanisation has contributed to the growth of informal housing on a large scale. The accelerated migration of people from mainly rural areas into urban areas has caused informal settlements to grow beyond the coping capacity of municipal infrastructure, which has resulted in the deterioration of living conditions and the surrounding environment.

Policy brief 3:

Full version

Summary version




Glenmore residents march to the Ngqushwa local municipality

Afesis-corplan was in Peddie on June 27 where residents of Glenmore marched to the Ngqushwa local municipality to demand that municipal officials respond to a petition they handed over in April.

The petition relates to the Glenmore community sports field which the municipality spent more than R2-million refurbishing. However the sports field remains in a shambles.

The community marched to the municipality in April to handover a petition requesting that the municipality rectify the poor workmanship done to the sports field.

Residents gave the municipality 30 days to respond to the petition however the municipality did not respond.

This resulted in community members embarking on another peaceful march on June 27.

Until this date the Glenmore sports facility remains inaccessible to members of the community wishing to use it.

Afesis-corplan has been involved in attempts to get the Ngqushwa Municipality to share information on the project and rectify the sports field.

This was done as part of Afesis-corplan’s Accounting for Basic Services Project which it is facilitating in Ngqushwa and Buffalo City Municipalities.

At the gate marchers we met by bouncers who then locked the gate. A few minutes later acting municipal manager at the Ngqushwa local municipality Mkhuseli Mxekezo emerged from his offices to address the marchers. He said the petition in question was still being processed by the municipal’s petition committee but could not give a date as to when it will be attended to.

See videos of the march on our YouTube channel.

Or view them all below:




Afesis-corplan welcomes delegates to the 2018 BCMM BRICS Summit

Afesis-corplan are exhibiting for the duration of the 2018 Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality BRICS summit at the International Convention Centre from today, 28 June until  Saturday, 30 June 2018.




BCM Must Support Civic Education To Strengthen Democracy

The role and participation of citizens in municipal processes and local government planning are critical for civic engagement, influencing policy, decision-making and holding government accountable.

This was a message delivered by Afesis-corplan’s Executive Director, Nontando Ngamlana at the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) civic education dialogue held in East London on Friday May 22.

Ngamlana said civic education today must address the present problems but also build the skills and capacity needed for the future envisaged role of citizens in supporting the articulated long-term vision of the Buffalo City Metro municipality.

She said it was Afesis-corplan’s view that a different approach to civic education was needed because we, as a country, are in a different place in our democratic process.

“In implementing civic education, we have to ask the following questions: Where are we and where do we want to be? What skill and capacity do we want to see in our citizens in the next 10, 20 and 30 years? And what content do we build into our education material, what tools do we use to build the capacity and skill we envisage? How will we know when we are succeeding? Who do we need to partner with? And what other resources do we need?,” Ngamlana said.

BCM Council Speaker Alfred Mtsi chaired the dialogue aimed at finding solutions to address some of society’s biggest challenges such as unemployment, poverty and inequality.

The Executive Director defined civic education as “a process of empowering citizens to strengthen democracy.”

She said civic education prepared citizens for meaningful participation in government planning.

“Civic education builds responsible citizens to use their resources no matter how limited they are to contribute to a greater good of society,” the Executive Director said.

“In the last 20 years civic education has focused on informing. Everyone knows the three spheres of government and they are generally rights conscious. Everyone knows how to vote” said Ngamlana.

“However, crime rate has increased, gender-based violence has increased, protests are more violent,” Ngamlana said.

She explained further: “What this tells us is that in the last 20 years we focused on civic education based on individualistic citizenship where everything is about ‘me and me alone’. We neglected communal citizenship based on Ubuntu (humanity).”

BCM Office of the Speaker General Manager, Sabelo Nkuhlu gave a presentation about stakeholders they wished to see participate in civic education.

Nkuhlu said the stakeholders were government institutions, civic formations such as community based organizations, traditional leadership, business community, youth formations, women organizations, people with disabilities, NGO’s, Chapter 9 Institutions and tertiary institutions.

Nkuhlu says they would like to see civic education in BCM tackle issues of public education on human rights, laws and policies of government (Constitution), roles and responsibilities of citizenry, gender equality and women empowerment, youth and children development.




Daily Dispatch Opinion piece: No fix for wards in current format

In the Daily Dispatch 25 April 2018 edition, our Executive Director, Nontando Ngamlana responded to the Daily Dispatch April 13 article titled  “Ward system not working – poor education hampers service delivery in BCM”.

Read her opinion piece here.




Afesis-corplan makes submission on Expropriation without compensation

Afesis-corplan, in its submission to the Constitutional Review Committee, submits that the constitution does not need to be revised at this stage to (1) expropriate land without compensation, and (2) create an appropriate tenure regime. The state should however (1) test the constitutional provisions to determine under what circumstances it is ‘just and equitable’ to provide zero or less than market value compensation; and (2) undertake research and investigation into the advantages and disadvantages of various tenure options in different circumstances, to inform appropriate tenure regimes.

More broadly however, Afesis-corplan believes that the state is not living up to its constitutional obligations to (A – as per section 25.5) take sufficient “reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions which enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis”, or (B – as per section 25.6) create a situation, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, where “a person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, … either to tenure which is legally secure or to comparable redress.”

By making this criticism we do not want to take away from the significant achievements made by government in addressing land reform in the country since 1994, including, for example, building RDP houses for people and finalising land restitution claims, but we do want to highlight that there is still much to be done.  We contend that the solutions to these failures do not lie in changing the constitution but rather relate to developing a clear land reform policy that can be translated into specific land redistribution and tenure reform legislation, programmes and projects.

While this policy is being developed we suggest a number of more specific recommendations for the state to implement including, for example, and amongst others:

  • Develop and adopt a new Land Expropriation Act that is in line with the constitution.
  • Introduce a Managed Land Settlement Programme, a Housing Support Programme, and a Smallholder Programme.
  • Require municipalities to include a land acquisition and development plan and programme within their Spatial Development Framework plans.
  • Introduce a new comprehensive land administration system that accommodates both on-register and off-register land tenure situations such as in communal land areas, informal settlements, farm dwellers, communal property associations, etc.
  • Establish a national coordinating structure to “drive a coherent and co-ordinated spatial framework for South Africa” as recommended by the High Level Panel.

Afesis-corplan is willing to participate in any land reform policy development process. Land for sustainable settlements is already a key focus area of Afesis-corplan and we are open to investigating opportunities for collaboration and partnership with government and others in pursuing land redistribution, land tenure reform and spatial restructuring.

For examples of submissions made by other organisations to the Constitutional Review Committee looking into expropriation without compensation, see :