Ward Councillors are important for democracy in SA: Analyst

A ward councillor is an important element of the local government system and the election system in SA. Councillors are important for total democracy in SA, according to political analyst Theo Venter.

“Nationally, there is only proportional representation – so you never know who represents you in parliament or in the provincial legislature, but a ward councillor is a direct link between the people on the ground and the local legislature. So, you can pinpoint the man or the woman representing you.”

However, not all ward councillors and committees are effective, he adds.

Venter says the biggest challenge with councillors is that they follow the party lines despite the needs of their community.

“Party politics make ward councillors very ineffective. A lot of councillors are appointed by their political parties and report to their parties instead of communities.””

Venter says big parties can overwhelm the independents or smaller parties.

However, with the municipal elections coming up, it will be interesting to see the change in dynamics as the EFF enters the municipal elections for the first time.

It is expected to hold the power of balance between the big parties, he adds.

The municipal elections will take place on August 3.

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– By Nthabi Thipa-Gwiji


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