On 20 July 2023, SERI participated in a roundtable discussion on the future of coalition government in Gauteng province, hosted by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature's Portfolio Committee on CoGTA, E-Government, Research & Development. The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to share some of the key findings from a study commissioned by CoGTA on the impact of coalition governments in municipalities in Gauteng. The roundtable also sought to reflect on some of the issues affecting the stability of coalition governments, discuss the future of coalition-governed municipalities, and to hear from the invited stakeholders, of which SERI was one.
The roundtable included presentations from Mzi Khumalo, Gauteng CoGTA MEC and Dr Darion Barclay, Gauteng CoGTA HoD who both shard some of the key findings and potential implications from the CoGTA commissioned study on coalition government in Gauteng. Sello Marokane from the South African Local Government Association (SALGA); Kevin Allan from Municipal IQ, Thembani Mkhize from the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO); and Wandile Ngcaweni of Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) all shared their reflections on the issue of coalitions, the impact of instability on service delivery, possible strategies for establishing stable coalition governments, what the last local government election results show about voters and the direction of local government politics.
As part of the stakeholder remarks, SERI's Thato Masiangoako reflected on SERI's experiences of local government instability and its impact on the work that SERI does with communities and groups to access their socio-economic rights. She also shared some of the main concerns of a recently formed convening of local governance where SERI works alongside various other NGOs equally concerned with the impact of deteriorating local government. These concerns include:
- Culture and values of officials in local government and concerns with leadership, particularly unethical leadership;
- Municipal budgeting and public participation, in that there are poor public participation approaches and dysfunctional public participation units if they exist; and
- Party political interference with local government, which includes a concern with the lack of accountability systems and mechanisms and how political parties can wield an undue influence.