2016 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS MANIFESTO

Freedom dawned in South Africa in May 1994.
Real freedom, inclusive of economic freedom, must now reach high noon in 2016.
That is what we are striving to achieve together with you.
Together we can ensure that decent delivery takes place, decent dwellings are created, and a decent existence for the people becomes achievable.
This is our solemn promise and we undertake to be bound to that.
Once more our country stands at the threshold of a historic moment. South Africans from all walks of life have an opportunity to vote for a local government that responds to the real needs of the People in real time.
Since 1994 South Africans were solemnly promised “A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL”. Unfortunately this dream remains unrealised for most South Africans. Many residential areas in our towns and cities are degraded and becoming more squalid every day.  The health of residents in such areas, therefore, is being negatively affected. To add to the Peoples’ woes, the economy is not growing and nearly 60% of our nation’s Youth remain unemployed.
COPE will ensure better run councils, accountability, transparency, rule of law, promotion and development of entrepreneurs and quality services at affordable tariffs.
We can all do something to SAVE SOUTH AFRICA!
In our view democracy is defined as a government of the People, by the People, for the People, with the People.
The Freedom Charter envisaged a time when “the People shall govern”.  We undertake to realize that key objective of the Freedom Charter.
Our Constitution makes every one of us equal before the law. However, when communities surrender their power and influence to a political party, as has been happening for many years, politicians live large and become a law unto themselves. The local government election in August 2016 offers you an opportunity to make things better for yourself, your community and South Africa.
Congress of the People (COPE) is a party that will continue to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law with full commitment. We will not stray from the Constitution as the supreme law of the country. We interpret the Constitution to be the in favour of the People and in support of accountability and transparency.
Voting for the Congress of the People will empower you more than any other political party will dare to allow. Those who are corrupt are not of us and we are not of them. Your voice will remain strong and valid for the full duration of the five years that a council is in existence.
Let us take hands to SAVE SOUTH AFRICA - Mosiuoa Lekota

 

VISION OF COPE

Our vision for South Africa is for a democratic, inclusive and a prosperous country that promotes racial harmony, social cohesion, solidarity, unity in diversity, freedom and gender equality. COPE envisages a caring society where a shared national identity and pride are deeply rooted amongst South Africans.

Congress of the People’s vision is of a thriving democracy where everyone’s voice is heard loud and clear and where power is not hoarded by one political party for years.

Local government in South Africa has been serially in a state of crisis. The crisis continues year after year and things are getting progressively worse. Where it works, in most cases, it is always on the brink of failure. Corrupt and self-serving politicians, presiding over an incapable and incompetent management, quickly dissipate the budget and therefore no money is left to fund proper services. COPE wants to change all of this to save South Africa.

GOVERNMENT WITH THE PEOPLE

COPE will set up partnership structures in every local government to ensure that we harness the skills and resources of all capable South Africans to tackle the challenges of service delivery and development capably and meaningfully at the local government level. COPE will ensure that all residents are made fully aware of all local government institutions and associations so that they can actively participate in their activities and hold them accountable. COPE believes in the right of the People to be kept fully informed.

LEADERSHIP

• RELIABLE  • ACCOUNTABLE  • INCORRUPTIBLE

The leaders of COPE are fully committed to upholding the Constitution, deepening our democracy, keeping the three spheres of government visibly separate, serving the People, protecting and preserving public resources and assets, and working in full and spontaneous harmony with all Chapter 9 institutions. COPE will deliver people-centred councilors who are transparent, capable, responsive, approachable, honest and accountable.

In order to make good on our promise, COPE will ensure that every candidate will publicly declare his / her -

  • assets to the Independent Electoral Commission;
  • criminal convictions or misconduct, if any, to the Independent Electoral Commission;
  • full tax compliance before accepting nomination;
  • willingness to sign a written undertaking to adhere strictly to:
  • the procedures prescribed in municipal legislation for ward councilors;
  • reporting regularly and fully to his / her respective constituencies; and
  • the necessity for him / her to hold quarterly meetings to report on budget expenditures, policies, governance and delivery.

 

AGITATING FOR ELECTORAL & GOVERNANCE TRANSFORMATION

Our country has many good and hard-working Citizens who deserve a government that is truly accountable and committed to serving them honorably.

COPE will not tolerate dereliction of duty, incompetence, politicization of office, corruption, personal greed and the violation of the Constitution.

To achieve this objective, COPE will continue to canvass support for citizens to elect their Mayors directly to ensure that they are accountable to the People.

The time for electoral reform is now. COPE therefore agitates for the kind of electoral reform that will strengthen the hands of citizens and which will make accountability to them meaningful and mandatory. South Africans want to be governed fairly, justly and lawfully.

COPE councilors will apply strict procedures defined in law to compel the Mayor to -

  • regularly account to the People concerning the state of affairs in the town or city and to report on expenditure, procurement and delivery;
  • entrench processes of public consultation as prescribed by the Constitutional Court and to allow for greater participatory democracy and strong citizen activism;
  • ensure that every council which COPE controls will consistently create a climate of tolerance for different points of view and that all segments of society are treated in a fair and equitable manner;
  • take additional steps to ensure that our towns and cities are governed in a manner that strictly respects the Bill of Rights and every relevant provision of the Constitution;
  • ensure that backyarders and those living in shacks are supported by extensive town planning and given abundant opportunities to contribute sweat equity to help them develop sites progressively to meet their needs consistent with their dignity;
  • promote a free and responsible citizenry who live without fear or deprivation, proud of their respective towns and cities, yearning to contribute to their growth, and enjoying unparalleled opportunities to engage in all of its activities;
  • institute a governance review process that will allow an independent assessment of the functioning of the council and enable the citizens to judge whether or not it is they who are indeed governing as the Freedom Charter laid down or whether power is being exercised by politicians for their own selfish interests. Indeed, with COPE, “the People shall govern”!

GOVERNANCE

Together with the People, alongside COPE, communities and elected representatives will jointly promote the following: -

SERVICE

Regularize billing by adopting and developing standards that allow for

  • a simple, effective and user friendly way of efficiently tracking and reconciling accounts;
  • establish an independent Service Commissioners Office in each municipality to receive complaints and undertake investigations or immediate interventions;
  • expand access to clean running water, sanitation, electricity as well as ensuring universal access to basic services; 
  • adequately maintain existing roads in wards and upgrade those streets that need attention;
  • make use of alternative sources of energy for street lights and support same for household use;
  • improve waste removal services, clean up the streets, recycle materials optimally and increase composting of bio-degradable materials;
  • green the area and establish community gardens by giving sustainable work to People in each ward to undertake these duties for that ward;
  • establish community workshops with tools and facilities for affordable hire by artisans and residents who wish to work for themselves or to provide onsite training for young people;
  • roll out broadband infrastructure in rural and previously disadvantaged areas and make Wi-Fi freely available in all our towns and cities;
  • develop and maintain parks, open spaces, and sporting and recreational facilities;
  • establish adequate care facilities and actively promote preventive health care;
  • promote the interests of Children, Persons with disability, youth, Women and older People in every ward by ensuring that ward committees have sub committees to cater for each of the above group.

 

EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MUNICIPALITIES

COPE will :

  • appoint skilled and experienced professionals who can improve productivity, guarantee service delivery and make the use of consultants redundant.
  • ensure transparent and open recruitment processes in appointing municipal officials.
  • implement highly effective financial management procedures and controls as set out in the Municipal Finance Management Act with no deviation from its provisions;
  • protect senior public servants from political principals so that they are not coerced into committing corrupt activities on their behalf;
  • ensure good, ethical and competent management committed to complying with all MFMA requirements at all times and demonstrating transparency in all matters;
  • willingly subject itself to extensive scrutiny by opposition parties;
  • ensure that the awarding of tenders and contracts occurs only on the basis of open tendering without undue influence and we will insist on the publication of the result and allow formal appeals in respect of the outcome;
  • establish a well-coordinated 24 hour municipal call centre to
    • advise on job opportunities, tenders, and meetings,
    • answer direct queries,
    • provide information,
    • receive information, and
    • deal with emergencies.
  • COPE will give considerable attention to making all tender and procurement processes fully transparent and open so that no possibility of state capture can occur.

EFFECTIVE & INNOVATIVE PLANNING

COPE understands that local governments have a significant role in undertaking spatial planning. COPE will strive vigorously to -

  • increase mix-use zones in the ward so that residential and economic needs are better met in one locality;
  • ensure that long term people-centred planning takes place within all COPE governed municipalities;
  • improve layout in residential areas in each ward, especially in informal settlement areas so that every home is easily accessible,
  • install fire-fighting equipment in each ward, and take  such other measures as are necessary to prevent fires from destroying homes and possessions as frequently as they do in the townships;
  • promote the densification of urban areas and limit urban sprawl; and
  • ensure that roads and streets are maintained in proper condition.

PROMOTING ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Congress of the People strongly supports participatory budgeting as practiced in Brazil. Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making.

This allows for ordinary People to decide how to allocate a given or reserved part of a municipal budget.

“Participatory Budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is spent. When PB is taken seriously and is based on mutual trust local governments and citizen can benefit equally. PB has the potential to provide social inclusion and social equity in the decision making of the allocation of resources in communities with low socioeconomic statuses”.

In Brazil, “neighborhood budget committees have authority to determine the citywide budget, not just the allocation of resources for their particular neighborhood. A mediating institution will facilitate the aggregation of budget preferences expressed by subjurisdictions”.

COPE favours the Brazilian model which involves the following-

  • Community members identify spending priorities and select budget delegates
  • Budget delegates develop specific spending proposals, with help from experts
  • Community members vote on which proposals to fund       
  • The city or institution implements the top proposals.

Rural communities will be supported in a similar way.

Within 6 months of a new Council being constituted in a COPE led municipality, COPE undertakes to audit poverty and unemployment levels in every ward to create better IDPs. Together with the community, the COPE ward councillor will formulate a plan to alleviate poverty and provide for the creation of significant economic opportunities for that particular ward.

COPE believes that great opportunities exist for artisanal job creation to meet market niches in South Africa and abroad.

COPE regards towns and cities as places where economic activity should be planned with an opportunity for citizens to participate. Economic activity should be free from politics because business should be conducted as business without politicians casting a dark shadow over entrepreneurs.

COPE also favours Grassroots Economic Empowerment (GEE) instead of BBEE. Ordinary People must receive the benefits, not a handful of favoured People.

COPE will actively promote the formation of municipal based development and trading companies (MDTC) which will accumulate capital from all the citizens in the city through the sale of shares and the use the investment instruments to fund infrastructure projects, promote and support entrepreneurship, create profits for investors in the municipality and support local social programmes in the area. Each municipality should generate investment capital from citizens and use that to stimulate local economic growth. Municipal Development and Trading Companies (MDTC) will allow every person within the municipality to become a shareholder and participant.

Over and above that, COPE will also strive to -

  • stimulate job creation in every ward through joint local planning and the creation of ward co-operatives which will work with the Municipal Development and Trading Company (MDTC) and receive managerial and marketing support;
  • support the strategic establishment of Community Mini Banks (CMBs) to enable People to make micro savings and to access micro level capital;
  • stamp out the practice of nepotism where People in political office use their positions to economically benefit their Children, Family members, and close Friends to the exclusion of all others.

COPE recognizes that Youth in the age group 24 – 35 are indefensibly worse off than their parents. Our society is failing our Youth.   COPE will give special attention to the multitude of problems of Youth and interact very closely with them to find lasting solutions.

ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY

COPE will strive to -

  • enable households to reduce expenditure by stimulating food production by householders and communities within the municipal boundaries so that essential food supplies remain constant, abundant and affordable;
  • support the establishment of community nurseries to supply householders and community gardens with expertise, affordable compost, cheap manure, and low priced seedlings;
  • support the establishment of food co-operatives to undertake agro-processing, value addition and marketing; and
  • encourage urban agriculture and recycling in all its variety.

ACHIEVING ENERGY AFFORDABILITY  HARVESTING THE SUN IS THE WAY TO GO

In the next five years the issue of energy will overtake almost every other consideration. Every household will be affected quite severely. COPE recognises the immense seriousness of this problem and will therefore -

  • promote and invest in municipal based solar, wind and wave energy plants and street lighting, as applicable, and create a scheme for households to install renewable energy systems cost efficiently and with easily accessible loan facilities for the purpose;
  • promote and support independent power producers in order to guarantee sustainable and affordable energy to householders, businesses, and industry;
  • empower households to manage their own energy needs with attractive reverse metering schemes which will create permanent and temporary jobs across the country;
  • promote the massive installation of solar geysers by leveraging negotiated bulk discounts and special bank loans which will allow qualifying householders to borrow money for the purpose of installing solar geysers and paying off in a fixed amount over 60 months.

ENSURING BETTER WATER & SANITATION MANAGEMENT HARVESTING WATER IS VERY IMPORTANT

COPE has noted with great concern that in our country water is a scarce and rapidly diminishing resource. We are indeed in a water crisis. Almost all of the usable water is accounted for.

As a country we have dammed more rivers than any other country in the world. In other words, we do not have any spare capacity whatsoever. Unless we use our water very wisely, very correctly and very sparingly, we will experience great hardships and very many job losses.

As we cannot live without water and as every economic activity is dependent on water, COPE will place considerable emphasis on guaranteeing water security. To this end COPE will -

  • actively promote the harvesting of rain water and create a fund with partners in the private sector to allow householders to install water tanks, obtained through bulk discounts, which can be paid off over 36 months;
  • take preventative measures to deal with contaminated water and with acid water in all mining areas;
  • encourage onsite recycling of water;
  • promote the use of water wise plants;
  • ensure that water sources are not endangered in any way;
  • ensure that all communities are provided with adequate sanitation and that toilet enclosures exist which befit the dignity of the areas’ inhabitants.

SUPPORTING A BETTER APPROACH TO DWELLINGS

COPE will ensure that local government has a greater say in determining the quality, sizes and manner in which government funded houses are built.

COPE will allow the intended beneficiaries to actively contribute their ideas and to provide additional support they can so that a better and bigger product can materialize to meet their housing needs adequately.

COPE wants the strict separation of residential and business areas to be abandoned so that whole streets may see businesses on the ground floor and residences on the first floor to allow businesses in communities to grow without high overhead costs and without travel implications.

COPE will accelerate access to housing through a greater involvement with government departments.

COPE will promote “co-housing” to achieve advanced environmental, economic, and social objectives. This form of housing will begin with the establishment of an inter-racial and inter-generational community pursuing environmental and safety objectives.

COPE will accommodate both high and low income People in a mutually beneficial arrangement as befits a functioning and caring community. Co-housing requires choices to be made up front and undertakings to be agreed to so that a community with a community spirit can evolve. Building strong and safe communities is to build a strong and stable society.

COPE believes that overcrowding of residential areas must be strictly controlled on account of fire, flood and health hazards.

COPE will ensure that all informal settlement areas receive proper professional planning attention at once. This will enable People to improve their dwellings as their circumstances improve and thereby make it possible for an informal settlement area to become formal in time.

SUPPORTING EFFECTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN RURAL AREAS

COPE will ensure that every municipal area will have an office.

In rural areas COPE representatives will meet with communities to chart the way forward on the basis of continuous mutual engagement until such time as a functioning local authority is established.

COPE will examine economic opportunities in a rural area with a view to its exploitation with private sector or community partners in order to adequately fund the operation of the local government from shared profits.

COPE will enter into arrangements with adjoining municipalities to contract for services in order to get the best value for money.

COPE will examine how rural communities can offer their labour in exchange for any municipal charges so that money does not become a constraining factor and whatever is done in this regard will be done through mutual agreement.

COPE will examine whether a form of beneficial and equitable contract farming can be engaged in to allow rural dwellers to derive a revenue stream.

SUPPORTING EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

COPE recognizes that by the time many Children go to school their future has already been sealed because their early childhood development was not given attention. 

Poor nutrition and an environment lacking in visual, auditory and physical stimulation leave many Children on the back foot.

It is highly possible with innovative organization to allow all Children in all communities from a very early age to have the opportunity to develop their potential and so enter school better prepared for formal education.

COPE undertakes to have continuous and meaningful engagement with communities to give attention to early childhood development until a situation is reached when all parties agree that early childhood development is getting the best support that material and human resources allow.

SUPPORTING RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

COPE will gladly work with any ratepayers association but only on the basis that these are constituted in such a way as to broadly benefit citizens as a whole.

The transformation of South African society has to continue apace so that greater equity can prevail. Every effort to improve conditions for everyone, through better governance, is something that COPE fully endorses.

It is part of our promise to create an active citizenry in a fully functioning constitutional democracy.

CRIME

COPE believes that crime must be tackled at its root cause and not only through aggressive policing. A one-sided plan will yield very limited results. A comprehensive plan has to be formulated by communities, the police, and other role players working together. Only a plan that is fully owned by the residents will succeed in curbing crime.

COPE will also ensure that the farming and urban communities are able to collectively fight the root causes of crime. Where economic deprivation and substance abuse are involved, an active citizenry must work with the organs of government to address these problems.

COPE will therefore ensure that local government will -

  • encourage the establishment of community police forums where they do not exist at present;
  • maximize the role of community policing forums and neighborhood watch groups;
  • destroy crime dens, clean up overgrown open spaces and
  • provide adequate street lighting;
  • with other spheres of government, and private sector partners, improve the economic conditions of the poor through enhanced economic activity; 
  • Implement technological solutions for the better and constant monitoring of crime infested areas;
  • promote the emergence of integrated, non-racial and cohesive communities through the sharing of knowledge, responsibilities and resources so that such communities can better combat crime in their respective localities;
  • establish municipal police in all municipalities to enforce by-laws and to combat crime in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies; and
  • organize a monthly public forum to analyze crime statistics and incidences.

THE GENERATION QUESTION & THE EXTREME IMPORTANCE OF YOUTH

Young People must receive very special attention because families invest in their education and rely on them to improve the financial circumstances of the Family. Young People must therefore become involved in economic activities soon after receiving their tertiary education or skills training.

COPE will ensure that local government promotes and supports young People with skills training to contribute to the economic growth of the municipality. Youth owned enterprises will be given extensive support to help them become viable and profitable.

The need for Young People with requisite skills to enter politics in large numbers is also imperative. COPE wants to see greater involvement from young South Africans so that the baton can be passed from one generation to the next. Youth must influence our politics constructively and positively and they must do so by becoming active citizens.

SPORTS, ARTS & RECREATION

COPE recognizes that sport plays an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles.

COPE places heavy emphasis on sports, arts and recreation because we are a society still in transition trying to shake off the last vestiges of apartheid’s impact on us and our attitudes.

COPE therefore sees many social and economic benefits accruing from the strategic and constructive use of sports, arts and recreation and will promote and support these activities by building public private partnerships to achieve optimal results. Townships that were serially neglected will receive priority attention in this regard.

COPE recognizes that across the country many sports facilities are lying unused or underutilized. In COPE run municipalities the mayor will be responsible to produce innovative solutions to improve the use and the upkeep of all sports facilities and other amenities.

THE MEDIA

COPE recognizes and fully appreciate the role of the media to inform and educate citizens;
COPE fully supports the right of the media to uncover graft, corruption, and the abuse of power;
COPE will support local community media;
COPE will staunchly defend the independence of the media.

THE NATIONAL QUESTION

COPE is unique among South African parties in addressing the issue of national identity openly. COPE knows that in division lies extreme danger. Only in unity is there guaranteed security for our People. Through long years of apartheid racial prejudices were entrenched, and even today race is regrettably a consideration in economics, politics and in society generally. 

COPE will address the national question boldly in order to achieve racial harmony and unity as these are critical for the future of South Africa. Developments in North Africa have clearly shown how everything can change in the space of a week. While we in South Africa have the window of opportunity, we should seize the time to make a new society. We saw glimpses of this during the Soccer World Cup. Our growth and our safety require that we prioritize the constructive management of this crucial issue.

Local government, COPE believes, must take a lead in forging racial harmony and unity. COPE run municipalities will vigorously strive for racial harmony and such municipalities will therefore be better, more prosperous, and safer places to live in.

CONCLUSION

In supporting COPE you will support a policy which involves you as a genuine partner and driver in every programme. COPE is ahead of every other party in defining democracy as a government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the People, WITH the People.

COPE, by virtue of this definition, supports citizen activism and is undertaking to create institutional mechanisms where it governs to promote and support such activism so that the quality, efficiency and delivery of the local government is guaranteed.

COPE believes that voters must remain fully engaged before as well as after the election.

COPE therefore asks people not to surrender the power that goes with a vote but to hang on to that power. It doesn’t mean that if other parties didn’t allow for this it cannot be done. People in South Africa must be alive to the power that they have thanks to our great RSA Constitution. People power must and should prevail. The Freedom Charter intended that the “people shall govern” and COPE fully subscribes to that objective.

This MANIFESTO highlights only some of the areas of concern to all of us. However, as COPE wants to work on a strictly contractual basis with the electorate, communities will drive the agenda within the ambits of COPE’s policies. Therefore whatever is lacking in this manifesto will be supplemented through mutual agreement in each electoral area. This must happen so that the manifesto can become area specific. Once again, has anyone ever heard of such a democratic development in politics?

Our manifesto touches only on some of the issues. For those who wish to access further information, please read the shorter consolidated COPE policy “COPE A to Z” available on our website to understand how we are proposing to fundamentally alter the power relationship between politicians and the electorate and thereby give deeper expression to the RSA constitution.

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