The motion tabled by the Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature some weeks ago for the establishment of a sub-council for King William’s Town and surrounding areas (Sweetwaters, Bhisho, Ilitha, Berlin and Breidbach) will be debated today. (subs: Wed, 26 Sept)

On behalf of the DA I will be introducing the motion and asking the Legislature to consider the advantages of a sub-council region for the Buffalo City Metro.

We will be requesting the legislature to solicit the Buffalo City Metro council to embark on a public participation process with the residents of King William’s Town and surrounding areas.

With the planned Bhisho revitalisation programme high on the legislature agenda, it makes sound sense to give sub-council status to King William’s Town and adjacent areas.

The sub-council system works with great success in the Cape Town Metro, which is one of the reasons why this city has such good governance.

In terms of the Municipal Structures Act, Section 62, if a Metropolitan Council (Buffalo City) decides to establish metropolitan sub-councils, it must do so by passing a by-law to this effect after a process of public participation.

The advantages of a sub-council are that citizen participation is enhanced by allowing them to address the council and attend meetings.

The lack of capacity and bureaucracy often associated with large metropolitan areas is negated by delegating some of the powers of council to the sub-council.

Furthermore, the sub-council can decide which delegated powers it would like to have and focus on specialised service delivery areas to the local community, while the metro council may delegate to the sub-council certain powers.

Such examples would include authorising business licenses, supplying dedicated garbage services and the like.

The sub-council could make recommendations on anything that affects the immediate area to the main council thus allowing for individual focus.

With King William’s Town and surrounds being badly neglected, looking jaded and tatty, it is high time that these areas get their rightful dues and have better service delivery.

It is a pity that the sub-council system provided for in our law is not utilised more to effect enhanced service delivery in the country.