Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
City Reflects on Good Governance
Good governance is essential for numerous reasons.  It reinforces the faith the community has in its local government and decision-making process. It leads to better decisions, helps local government meet its legislative responsibilities and most importantly provides an ethical foundation for governance. With this in mind, eThekwini Municipality's​ EMARAS Unit together with the Corporate and Human Resources Cluster hosted its third seminar on Cultivating Good Governance. Supported by MILE, eThekwini Municipality senior officials and politicians gathered at the Moses Mabhida Stadium today to learn from influential thought leaders in the good governance sector.

Prominent speakers such as governance expert, Mr Michael Judin, National Leader: Audit Services at Auditor General of South Africa, Mr Eugene Zungu, independent expert, Freeman Nomvalo and Deputy Chairman and Principal Consultant: African Financial Group, Dr Vuyo Mahlati presented at the seminar. ​
In his presentation Michael Judin mentioned the important role social media plays in exposing corruption and irregularities in local government.

“Social media is very powerful, it will tell the story of what you do and it will expose you. The power is not in your hands, it is in the hands of the people, we are on a global stage, with social media, “emphasised Judin.

Mr Eugene Zungu highlighted that eThekwini Municipality has shown major improvement and is closer to achieving a clean audit in the near future. 

“eThekwini Municipality has passed the test of accounting for their financial statements and has done very well in the last two years in terms of reporting on their objectives. It is important that eThekwini Municipality receives a clean audit. Key roles players need to play their part, areas of concern should be focused upon and addressed, “said Zungu. 


1. The narrative of governance must be changed so that we can begin to TRUST local government to best represent the interests of the citizens we serve, rather than our own INVESTED INTERESTS

2. Need to focus on MAKING our IDPs become REAL and engage with CIVIL SOCIETY so that we are held ACCOUNTABLE

3. Our fundamental challenge is the creation of MORE RESILIENCY through the creation of a CORE OF HIGHLY COMPETENT LEADERSHIP: this brings to the fore the importance of following proper RECRUITMENT PROCESSES for our senior management

4. We desperately need new ways of LEARNING and REPOSITIONING systems better, so that citizens are no longer BETRAYED through false promises and non-delivery!

5. From an Audit Report Card perspective, we learned that the biggest challenge in eThekwini Municipality is the issue of COMPLIANCE. In particular, there is a need to improve the quality of financial statements, supply chain management / procurement management and budget control

6. We learned today that the RULES OF THE GOVERNANCE GAME HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED with class actions on the rise, social media giving power to the people in real time, the new Companies Act in SA and personal liability now resting with Financial Directors, there can no longer be complacency in municipalities.

7. A good litmus test to guide our behaviour as leaders is the QUESTION:  
“Will the person whose opinion matters to us, approve of what we are doing”? 

8. From an organisational development perspective we noted that more than RECRUITMENT, we need in Metros such as us, to RETAIN professionals who are protected to do their jobs without so-called “interference”

Some excellent suggestions around LEADERSHP were raised. In summary :

accept that there are problems and mobilise people
Build a LEARNING process to develop CAPABILITIES needed to deliver
DON’T DISCARD EVERYTHING associated with the past
Figure out NEW WAYS of doing things
Name the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM and protect people that raise these
Encourage INDEPENDENT THINKING to move the municipality forward

Discussion Points / Panel Debate:

• Cadre deployment is not a uniquely SA problem. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, as it is suggested that according to research appointments are primarily made on the basis of affinity and trust except if they do not have the skills to perform the task that they are given.

• More importantly there is now precedence that if senior managers are not qualified, there will be personal consequences around accountability through class action.

• The response to the recent xenophobic attacks is important to reflect on – need to look at structural inequalities and underlying causes for these attacks. 

• Decisions made by political leadership must be backed by credible evidence.

• The issue of so-called “political interference” is a manifestation of a lack understanding of roles and responsibilities. Constant learning programmes are a simple solution to overcome this. Need to apply our legislation as these roles are clearly spelled out. MPAC needs to be given more space to do their work in this regard. 

• The liberal dispensation of theory is easy, what was stressed was that more important from the learning session is the actual SHARING of the collective wisdom and experiences so that it can be implemented immediately. 

• Integrated reporting is now a gold standard in SA and is part of international best practice. 

• There can be “no silver bullet”, but a range of issues need to be worked on from strategic leadership, to operational plans, to engaged citizens. We must all work hard!

​​​​​​​​​​​View or Download presentations from the event below:

Freeman Nomvalo.pdfFreeman Nomvalo.pdf​​

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