Had a chat with a Ward Councillor today about public meetings. Someone in the councillor’s constituency was raising concerns about the visibility of the councillor in all parts of the ward. Part of the problem is that the Code of Conduct for Ward Councillors in Johannesburg only requires them to hold a public meeting once every quarter. That’s four meetings a year, 20 meetings over the five year period for which councillors are elected. That is simply not enough!
Of course, this is a minimum requirement, so there’s nothing to stop a councillor having a meeting once a month even. Which is probably what’s necessary for effective interaction, especially if a ward is spread across a wide geographic area. For example, if there are four distinct areas and it’s more practical to have area-based meetings rather than one ward-based meeting, then the councillor could have four meetings over a four-month period, one per month in each area. This would mean three meetings per year in each area.
Surely direct contact and communication – as opposed to (or in addition to) info in newspapers or on the internet – is preferable when working with people at grassroots level?
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