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 :

Daily Dispatch article: Ward Councillors trampled on our Democracy

Our Executive Director, Nontando Ngamlana responded to the Daily Dispatch June 4 front page article titled  “Failed to serve”. Read her opinion piece here

Accounting for Basic Services Leadership Exchange Meeting

SOME of the country’s top civil society organizations are meeting in Johannesburg this week to share in the experiences of six communities that were part of the Accounting for Basic Services Programme. With an aim to engage local government towards improving basic service delivery, the programme was implemented in six communities located in three different provinces, namely; KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. Supporting the project were NGOs Afesis-corplan, Built Environmental Support, Planact and Isandla Institute with funding from the European Union Delegation to South Africa and the Heinrich Boll Stiftung as implementing agent.

In attendance in the meeting which is aimed to draw insights and reflect on lessons emerging from this programme are seasoned civil society leaders such as Mazibuko Jara from Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda in Keiskammahoek, Nkosikhona Witbooi from Reclaim the City in Cape Town, Mbayiza Miya from the Thembelihle Crisis Committee, Sibongile Tshabalala of the Treatment Action Campaign in KZN, Gavin Anderson from the Seriti social enterprise in Johannesburg and Allison Tilley from the Open Democracy Advice Centre.

Afesis-corplan supported two of the six communities in question, one in Ngqushwa Municipality and the other within Buffalo City Metro. Some of the experiences shared which were common amongst the community leaders included:

  • The value of understanding how local government works before attempting to engage it. Participants valued some of the tools developed by the NGO partners which equipped them to understand how local government functions, including understanding technical processes such as budgeting and the analyses of Annual Reports, departmental plans and the service delivery budget implementation plans;
  • The importance of community mobilization so that the community can speak with “one voice” with unity of purpose;
  • The need to change the narrative when it comes to protest, protesting without violence and destruction; and
  • Accessing information from local government proved difficult across all the local municipalities even with the provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). Participants agreed that where necessary, communities must be willing to institute legal action against local government to access information when the need to do so arises as provided for in law.

Of the two communities that Afesis-corplan has been supporting, Glenmore in Ngqushwa and Chris Hani Park informal settlement in Mdantsane (BCM), after two years of engaging the municipality, the Glenmore sports facility still remains inaccessible and unfit for purpose despite Ngqushwa local municipality allegedly having spent more than R2-million to refurbish it. This indicates that engaging local government on service delivery is a slow and at times painful process and that communities wishing to engage on this road need to commit to the cause for as long as it takes.

The communities of KZN, Mpumalanga and Gauteng faced similar challenges. The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate a process in which key thematic areas of commonality that were emerging from the implementation of the programme could be lifted to inform local government policy and practice, said Thokozile Madonko of the Heinrich Boll Stiftung. Another key message that emerged in the meeting was about the importance of whistleblowers and how they are protected (or not protected) in South Africa. Commenting on the resilience of the community leaders in the room, Witbooi encouraged them to have a “fight back strategy” when dealing with unresponsive local government.  “Don’t be scared to name names,” he said amid loud cheers and clapping of hands by delegates.

Jara told the delegates that ward committees were not fully serving their purpose and that communities need to find ways of engaging the state outside of the co-opted cabal of “community representatives”. He also commended the community leaders in the room for having served their communities well and for mobilizing for change, holding elected representatives to account.  The funding support for the project is drawing to an end but the community struggle continues in each of the six communities.

BCMM Council Open Day 2018

On the 16th May 2018, Afesis-corplan programme staff Masixole Kente, Lindokuhle Vellem and Sikhander Coopoo attended the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality’s 2018 Council Open Day. The purpose of the Council Open Day was for BCMM to present the outcomes of their IDP Roadshow that took place from 19 April – 14 May 2018 (this included consultations with organised business and traditional leadership). View the full speech presented by the BCMM Executive Mayor Councillor Xola Pakati here.

Expropriation – call for comments

Land expropriation is a hot topic at the moment as parliament calls on the public to make submissions on the issue of expropriation without compensation by 15 June 2018.The article Expropriation: Key to more Equitable Land Distribution, or Expensive Folly?  written in 2011 by Rob McGaffin for the Afesis-corplan Transformer Journal Volume 17 no 3 is still very relevant to the current debate.

Afesis-corplan News Bulletin

Afesis-corplan has introduced a news bulletin that contains news of the day-to-day activities of the organisation.

News Bulletin #1: Call for the establishment of an urban land commission

News Bulletin #2: Ngqushwa community to march against corruption

News Bulletin #3: Ngqushwa municipality receives Glenmore petition

News Bulletin #4: Conference raises stakes on land governance

News Bulletin #5: Rural service delivery seminar held

News Bulletin #6: Accounting for Basic Services Leadership Exchange Meeting

News Bulletin #7: Communities Voice their Concerns at Leadership Exchange Programme