The Council of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Council of Mayors is taking place at the ELICC from Thursday 8 September ending on 9 September.

The first session featured President Cyril Ramaphosa. Also part of the speakers were Eastern Cape Premier Hon. Oscar Mabuyane, Salga President Councillor Stofile and Buffalo City Metro Executive Mayor Councillor Xola Pakati.

Cogta Minister Hon. Dlamini Zuma participated in the second session, which was a panel discussion, on 'Progress made by municipalities on the transition post the Local Government Elections'

Currently, the session is dealing with local government finances, financial management and municipal financial recovery which is being addressed Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.

Also in attendance is Buffalo City Metro Deputy Executive Mayor Councillor Princess Faku, Council Speaker Councillor Humphrey Maxegwana and Acting City Manager Nceba Ncunyana.

In his address, President Ramaphosa said: “Mayors must lead the country’s transition to renewable energy sources, efficient water use and management, effective solid waste management, the construction of climate-proof infrastructure and green transportation.”

“Mayors have to ensure that infrastructure is climate resilient and that communities are protected from extreme weather events. You are your administration’s foremost advocate of sustainable development,” he added.

Premier Mabuyane called for the Municipal funding model to be revisited. “The reality on the ground is that many of our municipalities, especial rural and peri urban ones, are experiencing chronic challenge of being under-funded, and are unable to provide services to our communities.”

“Some of the challenges in local government are systemic and others are just caused by leadership instability that leads to inefficiencies. As a result of these challenges the public is losing confidence in public representatives and in government.”

“Local government must be adequately funded for them to meet minimum requirements of an Ideal municipality. We all know that the current funding formula is flawed and ill informed as more resources should be allocated to the sphere closest to the people. We must resolve the funding issue for local government as a matter of urgency.”

In his welcome address, Mayor Pakati said: ““Whilst the legislation requires that we govern our municipalities in terms of the demarcated municipal boundaries, the reality is that the movement of people and infrastructure happens across boundaries.”

““Honourable President, Whilst we try to create our interconnection & relations as municipalities, we believe the relations with the entire government are very crucial. The District Development Model is one of the best decisions that our national government has taken.”