The Speaker of Council in the City of Joburg, Cllr Nonceba Molwele has suspended all scheduled Council sittings, Section 79 meetings, and IDP public engagement sessions amid the nationwide lockdown to combat COVID-19.
The decision was taken in line with the regulations gazetted by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, which directs municipalities to suspend all council sittings during the 21-day lockdown.
The Speaker and the legislature are committed to ensuring that the public’s constitutional right to participate in the running of government is protected.
In due course, and guided by the law, the Office of the Speaker as the custodian of the City’s public participation will communicate a process that will commence the IDP public consultations.
The information will be disseminated through various mediums including, newspapers, e-mails, community radio stations, social media and other suitable forms of communication.
The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is the community-driven government plan developed by a Municipality in terms of the Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000 and the Municipal Finance Management Act, 56 of 2003. It places people at the centre of development and allows the Government to implement the needs of the people.
Public participation is central to the IDP process, and as prescribed by South African law. The municipality must allow the public to actively participate in municipal planning and budgeting.
Legislation dictates that municipalities prepare the IDP process plan ten months before the beginning of the new financial year.
The Council of the City of Johannesburg had approved the IDP process for the 2020/21 Financial Year which started in August 2019. This in line with Section 17 of the MFMA which prescribes that the Mayor of the municipality must table an annual budget at a Council meeting at least 90 days before the start of
the financial year. This must include supporting documents such as the IDP, Tariffs and the Corporate Scorecard.
The Council meeting meant to take place on 31 March 2020 where the Executive Mayor, Cllr Geoffrey Makhubo was scheduled to table the draft 2020/21 IDP had to be cancelled.
This was done per the directives issued by Cogta in terms of the Disaster Management Act, No. 57 of 2002, published in Government Notice No.399 of 25 March 2020 and amended by Government Notice No. 432 of 30 March 2020.
Furthermore, the directives in Sections 6.7.3, directs Municipalities during the initial 21 Day Lockdown period, or any other extended period of the Lockdown that may be declared to:
(a)Suspend all Councils Meetings.
(b)Not convene any meeting, including the IDP meetings, Community and Consultation Processes or meetings for the Consideration and Passing of Budgets.
The tabling of the 2020/21 draft IDP to Council was scheduled to start a process of public consultation on IDP and Budget to solicit comments before the IDP and Budget adoption by Council in June.
On behalf of the Speaker of Council,
The Acting Secretary to Council
Mr. Andile Gobinca