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Know Your Council: Understanding the role of your councillor

With service delivery being a contentious issue on a regular basis, residents rightfully approach the councillor for assistance; however, it is important for residents to know and understand the process to follow when reporting an issue. The first thing residents need to remember is that the councillor’s role is that of providing oversight on the

With service delivery being a contentious issue on a regular basis, residents rightfully approach the councillor for assistance; however, it is important for residents to know and understand the process to follow when reporting an issue.

The first thing residents need to remember is that the councillor’s role is that of providing oversight on the administration of council. This because council is made up of the legislative an administrative arm of council.

While the councillor does play a role in developing and approving council policy, it is the duty of the administration to implement and enforce the policy or bylaws where applicable. As part of the ‘Know your Council’ Campaign, we will also be touching on a number of policies for residents need to know and understand.

Each ward councillor is elected by a specific geographically-defined ward within the City of Ekurhuleni municipality.

It is the role of the ward councillor to make sure that concerns related to his or her ward are represented in council. To carry this out, the councillor submits questions to council, tables motions and submits petitions of the community in council.

The Municipal Structures Act, 1998 provides for the establishment of ward committees to assist the ward councillor in understanding the needs and the views of the community.

A ward committee should consist of up to ten members who serve as volunteers to advise the councillor, and may represent a certain sector. In the City of Ekurhuleni, ward committee members represent the following sectors; Economic Development, Infrastructure; Sport, Heritage, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SHRAC), Disabled and Elderly, Community Safety, Faith-Based Organisations, Environment, Youth, Health, as well as Women and Social Development.

The ward councillor serves as chair of the ward committee and must hold regular meetings. Council may have a detailed policy on a ward councillor’s responsibilities as ward committee chair, specifying the number of meetings, the type of reports to be made to the ward committee, etc.

Ward councillors are also expected to hold regular public meetings within the ward, and can interact directly with any interest group even if that group is not represented on the ward committee.

With this in mind, residents are encouraged to first log all service delivery issues with the call centre. They can report issues by phoning the call centre at 0860 543 000, or sending email to call.centre@ekurhuleni.gov.za or send a tweet to @CoE_Call_Centre.

Residents are also encouraged to follow up with the call centre should they feel services are taking longer than expected to be delivered. Should the residents experience no joy after a number times following up, they may raise the issue with the councillor. In which case residents of ward 38 may contact the councillor by phoning 0840207479 or sending email to malcolm.maifala@ekurhuleni.gov.za or hello@malcolmmaifala.co.za.