QUESTIONS about governance will be thrashed out over the next week, the fourth themed week in the Growth and Development Strategy public participation process, GDS2040.

During the week, the City and all its stakeholders – including residents – will investigate what good governance is, and will make suggestions on how they would like it to work.

Governance is concerned with decision-making and the way in which decisions are implemented, making it a crucial element in the GDS2040. The Governance Week runs from 29 August to 2 September.

While governance in Joburg has remained stable, there are a variety of interventions that the City wants to implement to improve organisational performance and encourage more public participation.

Msizi Myeza, the thematic leader for the week, explains: “Public participation during the Governance Week is critical in ensuring that we sustain engagement between the City and various stakeholders [after] the GDS outreach process in tackling developmental challenges.”

Financial governance

Regarding financial governance, the City can afford two-thirds of its necessary capital spending over the next 10 years. Ways of closing the funding gap will need to be found, and the City is seeking greater financial sustainability by generating larger cash reserves and improving billing and revenue collection.

It is hoped that discussions during the week will raise ideas about how to achieve this.

She says discussions will also tackle topics such as governance structures and processes, including issues such as petitions and intergovernmental engagements, which ensure greater public participation in planning and budgeting; the role of local governance structures and processes that contribute to social cohesion; the importance of ethics in local government and a clear commitment to fighting corruption; and sustained engagement between the City and its various stakeholders in tackling developmental challenges and citizen involvement in governance.

The launch of Governance Week will take place at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, at which the Speaker of the council, Constance Bapela, will outline the focus for the week, while also hosting a Women’s Dialogue on activism.

The complete programme for Governance Week is available on the GDS2040 website.

Open days will be held at all the City’s regional offices at which small launches will take place; focus group discussions will be held; and residents will be allowed to contribute via suggestion boxes. During these open days, information about local governance and the basics of public services will be distributed.


On 30 August, there will be a seminar involving various external stakeholders and interested parties in a discussion on ways in which local government can be strengthened to ensure greater service delivery.

Discussion focused on financial sustainability issues including borrowing and liquidity will be held on 31 August. And communication workshops are scheduled for 1 September. A governance discussion with a panel of experts will take place on the last day, 2 September.

Overall, customer satisfaction with the delivery of services has improved since 2005, when it hit a low point. Since then, steady improvements have been noted and the 2010 customer satisfaction survey revealed an upward trend and stabilisation in positive perceptions.

In the GDS2040 outreach, there have already been weeks focusing on liveable cities and resource sustainability. This week the focus is on health and poverty. From 29 August to 4 September, the GDS2040 will look at governance.

The other five themes that are still to be covered are transportation; community safety; environment; economic growth; and smart cities.

To find out more about events and activities taking place during the week, as well as more about the GDS, you can go to the Facebook page or follow the GDS2040 on Twitter. It also has a website.