Rules with regards to Councillors - OUTA Local

Rules with regards to Councillors

Rules and regulations regarding elected councillors

Councillors MUST declare their financial interests

A “financial interest” is anything that a councillor benefit from financially, such as an income, ownership of a business or property, or being on the board of a company. By law, councillors must declare their financial interests to the municipal manager for transparency reasons, so as to prevent corruption – because many municipalities give tenders and contracts to companies that councillors and other officials benefit from financially!

Of the R360bn Local Govt Contracts

  • 8% (R28bn) - awarded to companies in which the municipality’s councillors had direct interests in.
  • 12% (R43bn) - awarded to companies in which close family members of the councillors had direct interests in.
  • 16% (R58bn) - awarded to companies in which other state officials had direct interests in.
  • General Tenders

The Code of Conduct for elected Councillors

Schedule 5 of the MSA says that councillors must declare all of their financial interests in writing to the municipal manager within 60 days of their election.

This includes:

  • Shares in any company
  • Directorship of any company
  • Any employment or income
  • Any property owned
  • Gifts above a certain value

DISCIPLINING AND RECALLING COUNCILLORS

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Although the Council must investigate and take disciplinary action against officials suspected of mismanagement, the Auditor General says that in 2014/15 only 55% of reported cases were actually investigated. At times, even when officials are dismissed, they are then employed by a different municipality. In addition, National Treasury has established a central database in which all disciplinary and dismissal cases are recorded.

ACTION FOR THE RECALLING COUNCILLORS:

If the right conditions are in place, there is no reason for a councillor who plans to work hard and is committed to improving lives in his community should be afraid of giving his or her community this right. One reason political parties are afraid of a ‘right to recall’ option is that internal factionalism at a local level could lead to the ‘recall’ option being
abused by factions within a particular party against their own elected representatives. However, examples from other countries may provide solutions to prevent this ‘abuse’ from happening. If a ward councillor is removed or steps down, this triggers a by-election in that ward run by the IEC to choose a new councillor.