Religious Leaders Call for Active Participation in Local Governance
August 7, 2023

Guidelines for Choosing Councilors

With the upcoming local government elections, selection of representatives by Political Parties and Voters is an important process. We need ethical, selfless, and competent Leadership in public, private, labour, faith- based and civil society to build a better country.
Everyone has a role and responsibility to contribute, work together and make constructive strides in realising the country’s constitutional aspirations and building a harmonious and prosperous nation.

Why is local Government important?

Local Government is the closest port of call for service delivery to make our lives better. It is a vehicle for transformation and development. An active and engaged citizenry is required to know and exercise local rights responsibly, reflect and bring about the standard of leadership, and performance needed to improve service delivery and development. Socio—economic justice means that all residents must have equity, access, rights, and participation for sustainable development to be a reality. Are political parties taking this responsibility seriously?

Local Government elections take place later this year.

The type and quality of leadership that gets elected will determine how the places we live in are developed and

managed. It is therefore imperative that the leaders chosen are fit for purpose.

Guidelines for Choosing Councilors

Municipalities have a constitutional mandate to perform important functions on urban and spatial planning, land development and land use
management, infrastructure investment and provision of basic services. Performance on these functions determines the impact on the quality of life of people and the conducive environment for economic growth and development. 

Let us look for these qualities in councilors standing for local government elections:

Good character.

Councilors should be trustworthy, honest
and have a track record of serving the community. They should be compassionate, wise, caring, and inspiring,
with good listening skills.


Councilors must have a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities. Councilors must strive to always be fair and objective. They must know the Councilor requirements which are outlined in  legislation and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Guidelines.

Care & Compassion.

Councilors must be the face of a caring government. They must lead by example in promoting good governance and be responsive to the needs and aspirations of communities. They must build confidence in people that their problems will be attended to and there is follow up on enquiries, grievances and issues raised by community members. 

Commitment to Development.

Councilors must be
resilient and committed to improving conditions on the ground and uplifting people. Councilors should focus on their core responsibilities and
not on building patronage of voters in toxic ways by keeping people beholden to them for delivery of services which is their right.

Councilors must be committed to ethical and selfless leadership and put the interest of the people above all else. Being a Councilor should not be taken on as a job but a passion for service and upliftment of people and communities. Elected Councilors represent all the people irrespective of who
voted for them. Councilors must understand and be committed to their pollical party manifestos but not to factions or factional interests.

Councilors must be vigilant about private, conflicting, and dubious interests that even compromise the ethos, principles, and true spirit of their political parties. Councilors are servants of the people, representatives of communities and leaders of people who are committed to working with people and bringing about development.