The Minister of Local Government, Peter Siele, on Monday consulted the Gaborone City Councilors’ on the upcoming Bill which is entitled “Local Government Act 2011 Bill 13”, with which he said the government will be able to create better local governance.
In his address, Siele said with the Bill, the government will better local governance through provision of a legal base for decentralization, devolution of powers to local authorities and create an enabling environment for local authorities to be more influential. He further stated that the Bill will be advocating a stronger role for local authorities as institutions closer to the people, as well as providing authority to local authorities to drive service delivery. ┬á┬á┬á
According to Siele, part of the Bill provides for the establishment of Councils, Subordinate Authorities, and declaration of Townships and conferment of city status. He said in the current legislation, the establishment of Districts is made through a statutory instrument, whereas the establishment of subordinate authorities is done through administrative arrangement.
“The Bill has been taken to the Parliament in March and then to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi and we want to adequately talk to the people,” said Siele.
Siele further said clause 13 under the Act provides for inclusion of members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi as ex-officio members of both the main councils and the subordinate councils.
“The Land Board Chairperson is also proposed to be ex-officio members of the council while the sub-land board chairperson is proposed to be an ex-officio member of the subordinate council,” he said.
Siele further said part of the Act has a provision for the Minister to have power to reject, vary or amend a resolution of the council considering financial implications and public or national interest. According to Siele, clause 86 provides for the declaration of financial interest in writing within 90 days of their elections into a council to the town Clerk or Council Secretary and thereafter every year.
“Circumstances under which a seat of a member of council shall become vacant, under this part are the barring of councilors both elected and nominated from floor crossing,” said Siele.
Responding to Siele’s address, Councilor Rupert Hambira said floor crossing will have difficulties of loyalty, as people will physically support one while in fact they are in harmony with the other party.
“This is making matters worse from the beginning,” he said.
GCC Deputy Mayor Florence Shagwa said, “We do not have powers as councilors under this new law and am against the powers of the Minister to dissolve the Council anytime he wants, the powers should be reduced to other local government leaders,” she said.