Afesis-corplan together with its civil society partners are working on an initiative aimed at exploring effective ways for citizens to engage meaningfully in local governance. This emanates from years of working in the local governance sector where gaps with the present participatory mechanisms have been noted.
The Accounting for Basic Services Project is jointly implemented by the Heinrich Boll Foundation (HBF), Afesis-Corplan, the Built Environment Support Group (BESG), Isandla Institute and PlanAct. This project was designed for and approved by the European Commission Delegation to South Africa within the rubric of its Socio-Economic Justice for All – Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Support programme, and will be implemented from June 2016 to September 2017.
A distinct focus is to build the capacity of communities, project partners and other CSOs active in the field of socio-economic rights. Over the course of the project, capacity building workshops will be held to strengthen the capacity of CSOs in terms of building community leadership structures, social accountability and budget expenditure monitoring methodologies. As four of the project partners are active members of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN), it was felt that other GGLN member organisations should also be included this learning opportunity.
The project’s central approach hinges on empowering marginalised communities to begin re-shaping their relationships with public representatives. As such, its outcomes and activities focus on the support and capacity building required by citizens marginalised by geography, poverty, race and gender, to hold local government to account. The project as a whole posits that when citizens are able to hold local government to account, the willingness and ability of the state at national and provincial level to support and sanction under-performing municipalities will also be strengthened.
Follow Your Vote is an apolitical and non-partisan voter education program that aims to change the way we vote.
Our target is South Africa’s general elections in 2019 and beyond.
The program seeks to prepare voters to:
- Vote intentionally and not only from an emotional perspective.
- Vote from an informed and civic agency position.
- To understand the power that lies in our vote.
- To hold our elected representatives to account post voting.
- Get voters out there to understand the impact of “not voting”.
While the achievements of local government over the last 20 years are evident and worth celebrating, the challenges are as equally evident. Managing resources efficiently is oneof the key elements of good governance and local government has, over the years, performed poorly in this regard. The audit outcomes of the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 financial years paint a picture of a local government system that is regressing in audit performance as opposed to improving. This is indicative of poor governance, weak financial control systems and finance management as well as poor oversight.
Outcomes and results
- A significant reduction in the number of incidents of collective violence in target sites.
- An increased number and diversity of organisations, in target sites, consciously working towards addressing a commonly identified vision that includes a commitment to a more peaceful and socially cohesive.
- A significant reduction in youth-related violence; and increased conflict management skills amongst youth in target sites
- Increased safety of women and youth in target sites
- An increased ability of community leaders in target sites to respond to and mitigate against violence and promote peace using the community-centric method
- A reduction in the number of people in target sites who believe the presence of foreign nationals in their community is a significant contributor to their living challenges
- Increases in average student test scores in targeted schools, particularly of those students who had been primary victims of violence in the past