South Africa's municipalities - which have a vital role to play in service delivery - are contested terrain. Contestation is a healthy part of democratic governance, but patronage politics, nepotism and the pursuit of tenders appear to trump community development.
On December 1, a roundtable organised by the Isandla Institute will consider the role political parties play in strengthening local decision-making and governance:
How can a governing party effect its mandate without trespassing on sound management?
What impact does intra and inter-party strife have on how local government works?
How well do the amendments to the Municipal Systems Amendment Act (2011) address these questions - ie, create a framework for civil servants, elected officials and communities themselves to produce desired outcomes?
How does factionalism impact on the functioning of the local state and how can this be mitigated or overcome?