Strides towards a research agenda for local government key

Problems in local government must be investigated, this is necessary because a large portion of South Africa and its people are feeling and living the consequences of poor governance. This is according to Prof Nico Steytler, SARChI Chair in Multlevel Government, Law and Policy at the Dullah Omar Institute when delivering a keynote address at the SALGA Research Colloquium currently taking place at the Cape Sun Hotel from 28-29 March 2018.

Steytler says the state of the local government in South Africa and the question of if the municipal institutes are fit govern and to effect transformation are the main ke challenges that face local government today. However, he points out that as a nation we can learn from the few municipalities that are getting it right in providing services efficiently and managing a sound financial system. “We can learn how they do this, what are the success factors, leadership and how they get the right leadership.”


The theme of the colloquium is: Rethinking Government Transformation: Spatial Panning, Robust Governance and Sustainable Financing as tools for developmental local government. The colloquium brings together municipal professionals, policy makers across the public sector, universities, policy institutes and other partners in local government. It provides a platform for researchers to present and discuss research specific to local government, pursue direct policy impact of their work and exchange ideas for future research.

At this two day event, South African Local Government Association and the Dullah Omar Institute Today, signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate around knowledge production in support of local government. Prof Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute said this partnership will strengthen the relationship between the two organisations which have been working together for a longtime. He said he looks forward to all the exciting work that will be produced by the two organisation.

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is a voluntary association of municipalities. The constitution mandates it to represent municipalities in the intergovernmental and cooperative governance system. SALGA leads in the transformation of local government and actively pursues solutions for problem facing municipalities through research and information dissemination; provision of specialised services to strengthen local government capacity; facilitating shared learning between Municipalities; and human resource development and counselor training (leadership development).

The Dullah Omar Institute has a long history of collaboration with SALGA. In 1999, SALGA and the Community LAw Centre (as it was then called) initiated the Local Government Bulletin’, a quarterly publication on local government law and policy. Ever since then, we have worked together on many projects and SALGA has offered DOI many platforms to engage senior senior local government leadership on research conducted at UWC.

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