The Month of May marks a period where most local municipalities finalise their budgets for the forth coming financial year. Through the EU funded Accounting for Basic Services (ABS) project, Afesis-corplan supported communities in Ngqushwa and Buffalo City Metro Municipality, to make submissions on the budget in a bid to strengthen the delivery of basic services in theri areas. The project nullifies the view that municipal budgets are complicated for communities to engage and respond to. With dedicated support, these communities were able to analyse, identify leverages and opportunities and make targeted submissions.
To date not a single one of the two municipalities have acknowledged, in writing, (as stipulated in the Promotion of Administrative Justice legislation) receipt of these submissions. One of the municipalities claimed to have misplaced the document when the community representatives called to enquire on the status of their submission. The project offers an opportunity to derive key lessons on the responsiveness of municipalities and their willingness to engage communities through the legislated mechanisms aimed at strengthening community involvement in decision-making.
This is a developing story and more will be shared on it in up-coming months.