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The Emalahleni Local Municipality held a two day summit on the 15th and 16th of February that was based on highlighting the importance of councillors, ward committees, and community development workers (CDW). This was in efforts to bridge the line between the municipality and the community by focusing on the enhancement of revenue and payment of services. The speaker of the council, Cllr. BM Hlumbane, acknowledged the year of Mandela by emphasising the Batho Pele principles through service delivery and ensuring that community development objectives are being fulfilled by designing and effectively using the CDW plan through implementation.

Acting Municipal Manager, Mr. Sizwe Mayisela, gave an overview of the challenges that are currently being faced by ELM. He stated that the municipality is currently facing challenges of a growing population which has increased the number of people using resources provided by the municipality, as a result the number of people not paying for services has also increased over time. Residents need to come to an understanding that when services are not paid it affects the pace at which the municipality attends to service delivery which has resulted on the municipality being dependent on government grants.
A highlight for the municipality was the increase in the number of people employees who have obtained qualifications from higher institutions of learning, resulting in the municipality having educated individuals for their area of specialization.

The committee members also had presentations from the Nkangala District and various departments within the municipality which highlighted their functions by explaining in detail their processes and what they contribute to the day to day operations of the municipality. These departments included Development Planning, Technical Services, Environment and Waste, Corporate Services, and Financial Services.  

Thobile Ntimande who is the representative of COGTA gave a presentation on Operation Vuka Sisebente which is an “integrated service delivery model aimed at integrating government services. OVS operates through reformed governance structures constituting of Ward, Local and Provincial War Rooms”. The war room is aimed at addressing issues faced by communities; it was discussed that the formulation of five war rooms should occur within the community of Emalahleni to meet the specific needs of the community and improve the process flow.

The summit came to a conclusion on the 16th with ward committees and CDWs addressing the challenges they face and coming up with solutions to address those challenges. This was done through the four commissions that were held. These consisted of aligning ward & municipal programmes, implementation of OVS & Satise Silalele programme, ward governance & public participation policy review and reporting & assessment of ward committees under the supervision of council speaker

Busi Hlumbane. The annual summit for the year 2018 turned out to be a great success as ward committees and CDWs turned up in numbers, proving that there is a willingness from both parties to work together in serving the community that has selected them as their representatives.