Nongoma has 21 wards, each with a ward councillor. These councillors are directly elected, either during the national local government elections or through byelections.
Role of a ward councillor
The ward councillor is elected by the community in local government elections, and is the accounting person for a ward. They are responsible for the ward and adhere to the Councillor’s Code of Conduct. They are the intermediary between the community and council, liaising between the two. They also call community meetings to address issues raised by residents. If a ward councillor is removed or leaves for any reason, a by-election is held to replace them. The public in that ward then votes for a replacement ward councillor and their affiliated party.
Proportional Representation (PR) councillors
Certain wards also have proportional representative (PR) councillors, who are elected based on the number of votes obtained by a political party in the local government elections.
Role of a PR councilor
A PR councillor is not directly elected by the community in elections. However, the number of PR councillors in Council is dependent on the number of votes that their political party received in the most recent local government election. Councillors are selected by a party according to a party list, and if someone leaves, they are replaced by another candidate, also selected by the political party. Office bearers such as the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Speaker and Chief Whip are PR councillors. Parties elect PR councillors to serve the communities. PR councillors can also be sent to wards where there is an opposition party ward councillor.Parties utilise this to keep track of the communities they serve, even if the people did not vote for them. They can also resolve community issues to change residents’ perception for the next local government election.
Each ward has a ward committee, chaired by the ward councillor. Members of the ward committee are elected by the residents in that ward. Ward Committees were established to accelerate public participation as they are considered the “foot soldiers on the ground” and are close to the issues affecting communities.