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The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is convening a Local Government Professionalisation Indaba 8 – 10 March 2023, 09h00, in Kempton Park Johannesburg, Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre – OR Tambo as part of collective efforts in repurposing the implementation model of the Local Government Professionalisation Framework.

The three-day indaba will bring together leaders and experts in governance, and social partners, including government departments, professional bodies, communities, and organized labour under the theme: “Strong Partnerships for Restoring Trust in A Capable and Developmental Local Government: A Clarion Call to Drive the Local Government”.

Veteran broadcaster Tim Modise will host the Indaba and SALGA President Cllr Bheke Stofile will deliver an address at the hybrid event which will have in-person attendants and an option for online participation. The Indaba will see delegates from municipalities, professional bodies, institutions of higher learning, SETAs and government departments gather under one roof to confront the agenda over the three days. Also present will be Municipal Managers, Head of Department for Corporate Services, DGs and DDGs of provincial COGTAs, NGOs and CBOs in the local government space, human capital thought leaders and organised labour.

The business case for professionalising local government has been illuminated widely in various media reports, academic papers, and auditor-general findings, and the lived experiences of communities often point glaringly towards the characteristics of a sector that needs to improve the upholding of professional ethics and standards.

The aim of the hybrid format Local Government Professionalisation Indaba is to address the defined challenges and bottlenecks to help build an ethical state that is founded in Batho Pele principles and co-create an implementation pathway informed by the commitments of various constituencies and role-players in the journey of professionalization.

Furthermore, it seeks to provide appropriate professional designation, accreditation and continuous professional development to local government employees as well as promote adherence to ethical standards and the enforcement of applicable consequence management.

The journey of professionalising local government commenced with the establishment of the local government as a distinct sphere of government, expressed in terms of the White Paper on Local Government (1998). Local Government has returned numerous gains as demonstrated, inter alia, in the expansion of quality and sustainable services to local communities, the set requirements for the appointment of senior municipal management and the establishment of learning programmes tailored for the local government system. However, the promises of the White Paper continue to pale against the current realities which plague the sector and infringe on the aspirations of a capable and developmental local government.

The Local Government Professionalisation Indaba hopes to secure constituency buy-in and implementation adoption of the Local Government Professionalisation Framework by municipalities, regulators, professional bodies, institutions of higher education, community representatives, and organised labour. Furthermore, to develop and affirm a compact between all stakeholders on how to work together and give meaningful effect to an impactful Local Government Professionalisation Implementation Model and to reassert SALGA as a champion for local government professionalisation and to create an enabling environment for effective advocacy and constituency immersion on the local government professionalisation implementation model.