Today, 3 May 2022, Buffalo City Municipality Mayor, Cllr Xola Pakati, launches the first of three Integrated Development Planning (IDP) and budget roadshows in East London. These roadshow sessions will be conducted by making use of live broadcasts on radio stations and online platforms. A WhatsApp number is also provided for residents to make input and pose questions.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is making an urgent appeal to the mayor to have a second round of in-person roadshows at community halls, and other venues that are open to the majority of the public.
Roadshows are also planned for tomorrow (4 May) in the Mdantsane region and on Thursday (5 May) in the Qonce region. All of these sessions will be on the radio and online platforms. This will exclude the working class from giving their input and those who do not have data to send questions via WhatsApp.
Public participation is a process by which municipalities consult with the people before making decisions. Public participation is a two-way street of effective communication and a collaborative problem-solving mechanism. The aim of this process is to achieve improved decision making by the municipality with input from the people. This is highlighted in Chapter 4 of the Municipal Systems Act and the Municipal Structures Act, which stipulates that it remains the job of the municipality to ensure community involvement.
The virtual IDP and budget processes present the following problems:
- Exclusion of the greater public;
- Exclusion of the residents who are at work;
- Exclusion of the residents who do not have the finances to buy data to raise their questions on WhatsApp.
With these issues in mind, the DA calls on Mayor Pakati to open up another round of public engagements in venues such as:
- Community Halls
We cannot allow that the majority of our residents are excluded from such an important process. Many of these people want to be active in their communities and want to make a difference, but will now be barred from doing so.