Presentation on theme: "Local Government Greg Ruiters UWC and RU. Legal status Sphere not tier Own powers vs centre Large areas of discretion Local government narrow def: “officials,"— Presentation transcript:
Local Government Greg Ruiters UWC and RU
Legal status Sphere not tier Own powers vs centre Large areas of discretion Local government narrow def: “officials, and politicians, some elected and non-elected and their limited functions as designated by the central state and the constitution of a country within a specific local jurisdiction (demarcated territory)”.
Broader context Local politics and economy much bigger than LG. LG one factor within a field of different powerful groups operating at various scales. Local capital/ global investors have power. But LG plays a role in capitalism in securing local order and creating stable workforces and defending priv property (Marx). LG...entrepreneurial and competes with other cities in neoliberal system cities are forced to compete for three things: for investors; for administrative functions; for events/spectacular/consumption a race to the bottom. Beggar your neighbour…bidding wars between cities intensify. Public spending is cut back on libraries, culture, environment education to make concessions to capital… Can we make capital compete for us… rather than us compete for them?? Local economic development is stressed as local government plays a much greater role in economic affairs (land deals and subsidies for companies).
Exercise Can LG play prog. role? If…Yes… how… No… why …victim of stronger forces
LG in South Africa Phases Phase 1: LGTA… 843 councils amalgamated, but former white areras over- represented Phase 2: … 6 key new laws (MStruA, MSYA, MdemA, MFMA, Prop Rates, MelectA) Phase 3: New demarcations ( and first proper elected lg..
Three types A (metros) 6… 270 councillors max B (local mun) 231… 90 councillors max C (Districts) 47 B and C two layered power sharing # of councillors based on registered voters Wards more or less equal in pop (15% variation) ISSUES … please add
Issues Size plus number of towns..Do we really have local gov..or countries Read Atkinson for 150 km diameter… town hall democracy…amalgamation nightmares What are key issues in general … read subheadings only and guess content (Atkinson) Is lg overloaded???...impossible mandate
Councillors and codes of conduct 50% of councillors represent wards and others party list.. Indep ward councillors; 5 year term Councillors elect mayor, speaker and exco (if they want that system) or can choose plenary system or maycomm… Mstruc A has code of conduct (schedule 5)… Attend meetings; fines and removal from office for non-attendance; not use office for personal gain; not undertake contracts for council without council consent or Prov Mec consent Declare financial interest within 60 days of office Not interfere with managers or give orders to council workers Not accept or give rewards (eg to voters) Not disclose priv. information
SYSTEMS ACT Encourage a “culture of participation and transparency” meetings open to public; regular info to public etc Performance to be monitored’ tariff systems Debt collection; contracting out/priv …altern. delivery mechanisms,
Critical issues in S.Del Scale, issue/service and who should ….local is NOT lekker Bundles or services and qualities of place..Apartheid geography …forever.. How do we break vicious cycle of race-class-space Funding basic services.. Rights…Public vs economic vs social goods Debt collection/ disconnnections/restrictions/illegalities FBS and “managing the poor” Surveillance vs helping Tariff systems (increasing blocks and cross subsidies)… steepness of curve Affordability … (wiseman) Indigent lists (dignity/citizenship/discrimination) …wiseman Responsiveness … JHB billing crisis… information management (Atkinson)…joined up or whole government vs departmentalisation ADD….
Arguments/debates Localism vs universalism and nation building Hill.. Lg parochial interests separatism. The citizen will learn more from national politics. … Hence in FRANCE local government is not given many powers and national politics dominates completely. democratic govt does not require locally elected lg. polls in lg are lower than ng showing low level of interest Lg vs universalism (see Langrod and Moulin) True democracy cannot take into account the narrow aims of local communities. It has to be based on majority rule, equality and decent and uniform standards. This means a strong central state (dev.welfare state) that can redistribute from rich to poor areas and ensure everyone no matter where he is gets a fair deal. Local self-government only worsens unevenness and inequality. It should not be a principle of or criterion for democracy (see Whalen in Hill p 28) Localism in “face to face” communities can be very oppressive (see Mansbridge in Ehrenburg). The interests of the poor are better protected in larger units….the poor tend to keep quiet in small communities and the rich dominate. Conflicts are suppressed for fear of retribution. Local strongmen … Critique of civil society and social capital (see Ehreneburg…p 65 sk). USA thinks locally and acts globally. People tend to be conformist, conservative and uncritical in small communities. localism is the biggest problem for democracy in USA tends to enforce uniformity, small mindedness (parochialism) discriminates in favour of elites; eliminates sense of public values tends to enhance conservative values and promote law and order rather than liberal values such as dissent.
division of functions between lg and cg is not a matter of principle (as does the division between private and public services) French model – strong cg, prefects appointed by the center…democracy is mainly a national issue Lg not a good school for training national leaders…few come that route anyway and those that do may have local biases and sectional interests and not see the big picture. Lg scale and knowledge not appropriate for dealing national affairs. No easy transfer of learning and skills. Local government leaders who go into national politics retain a narrowness of mind. They will promote sectional interests. Compulsion is easier to organise locally; people who know each other exert all sorts of personnel pressures for conformity (boys club) crushes initiative and even a more diverse impersonal, bureaucratic environment may be better local elites able to use public as a screen for their private activities (corrupt deals) Devolving power to local level is a fallacy - it merely meant that few if any problems were solved…