By Yolande Hendler (on behalf of CORC)
With the 2016 municipal elections around the corner, the relationship between elected representatives and local citizenries could not be more topical. For some, the relationship is a largely passive space, which has lead to mistrust between different groups. For others it is a space that requires the building of meaningful partnerships, participation, and an active citizenry. As a member of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN), we have joined fellow civil society organisations in exploring these questions in the 2016 State of Local Governance Publication: (Re)claiming Local Democratic Space.
CORC’s contribution (on behalf of the SA Alliance) engages with the notable lack of community participation and in-situ practice in the national Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP). The paper is titled Co(mmunity) finance as a tool for local democratic space: The Cape Town City Fund and is based on robust experiences of community saving as a lever for co-finance and an enabler of inclusionary practice (See p.51-61). It suggests the need for an innovative co-finance instrument that enables a collaborative platform between urban poor communities, intermediary organisations and local governments to co-navigate in-situ informal settlement upgrading projects.
The GGLN is an initiative that brings together civil society organisations working in the field of local governance. Once a year the network produces the The State of Local Governance Publication which presents a civil society based assessment of the key challenges, debates and areas of progress with regard to governance and development at the local level in South Africa.