Newcastle Municipality conducted a Ward Committee Operational Plan Induction Workshop at the Madadeni Community Hall last Thursday.
Bongi Nxumalo from the municipality outlined various issues around the roles and responsibilities of ward committees to Madadeni ward committee members during his presentation. The municipality will also be conducting these workshops throughout Newcastle for all 34 wards. The workshop for ward councillors was also conducted at Farmers Hall last Tuesday.
Among the roles of the ward committees, according to Bongi Nxumalo from Newcastle Municipality, is that they serve as messengers between the community and the councillor.
“Ward committees have the responsibility to identify and utilise skills and resources that exist within communities. They also facilitate public participation in the process of development,” said Nxumalo.
He further emphasised on the fact that ward committees should establish relationships with a variety of people or organisations and be in a position to use them to effect and facilitate change in their local communities.
In Newcastle there are 340 ward committee members, 35% below the age of 35 years and 70% above 35. There’s 53% of males and 47% while there’s 95% African representation, 3% Indian, 1% Coloured and White.
Ward committees were also elected according to the will of the people which means that communities have a sense of ownership and confidence in the elected members according to Nxumalo. He also stated the strengths within the ward committees in that they are a true reflection of the demographic character of the municipality in terms of population groups where the African group is the majority.
Nxumalo outlined committee opportunities that tend to be expected by ward committees.
“The trend is that ward committees produce future ward councillors, the municipality therefore has an opportunity to groom and nurture good future ward councillors. The Newcastle Municipality has allocated well skilled and capacitated officials to deal with ward committee matters.”
The mission for the Newcastle Ward committees exist to communicate people’s aspirations, inputs, concerns and compliments.
These include programmes and activities aimed at developing them to be municipal partners in planning, executing and monitoring service delivery in all 34 wards of the municipality.