Khayelitsha toilets: the battle for information
Information concerning contracts signed by local authorities should be much more freely available, says Social Justice Coalition spokesman Axolile Notywala.
Referring to information in the social audit of janitorial services in Khayelitsha released today, Notywala said the City of Cape Town had only provided details of the system procedures after a letter from the SJC’s lawyers.
It had taken the SJC three months to get information from the City on the chemical toilet contract signed with private company Mshengu for its first social audit, in 2013.
Last year Mayor Patricia De Lille had made a commitment to making information on the janitorial services available, he said.
“But then we had problems getting it and we got it only after we sent a legal letter”.
Yet the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Municipal Systems Act and the Constitution all required municipalities to make this sort of information available, he said.
In terms of section 22 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, a municipality must make public the annual budget and other documents, including “particulars of any proposed service delivery agreements, including material amendments to existing service delivery agreements”.
The Municipal Systems Act lays down several requirements for community participation and requires that before a municipality signs a service delivery agreement for a basic municipal service it must establish “a mechanism and programme for community consultation and information dissemination regarding the service delivery agreement”.
The Act also stipulates that the contents of a service delivery agreement “must be communicated to the local community through the media” and that copies of a service delivery agreement must be made available at the municipal offices for public inspection.
Asked to comment on the SJC complaint about the City of Cape Town, the Mayor’s spokesperson, Zara Nicholson, said: “The City has previously provided extensive information to the Social Justice Coalition while we also post content on our website in fulfilment of our legislative obligations.”
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