We need local political and municipal leaders who put an emphasis on public service, not self-service.
We need political representation that puts us, the public, first (unclouded by provincial or national interests).
We need Councillors who are willing to sign a commitment form… and be voted out of office if they fail in their duty to do their best to uphold their election goals.
We need elected officials whose agenda and constitution are easy to understand.
We need plain speaking political parties and independents that seek and deliver understanding of how our local government works; the state of our infrastructure, where monies are needed and spent etc.
We need independent politicians or locally based political parties who believe in this and more, public servants who are prepared to make this promise and commitment:
I believe in direct democracy, electorate education, communication and honesty.
I promise to prioritise austerity and public service before salary by:
- Donating 10% of my Councillor’s salary towards community service e.g. community liaison assistant, charity, promoting culture intergration etc.
- Opposing councillor salary increases for the first 3 years of public service. In the event of being unable to stop salary increases during that period, I will donate the value of the latest increase received to community service. I will publicly challenge my fellow Councillors to do the same.
- To contribute 5% of my salary to my party for running costs not covered by local government.
[these contributions are based after relevant taxation, reducing my income by approximately 20% for my first 3 years of service to those who elected me]
I promise impartiality, to the best of my knowledge, by:
- Refusing to join any political coalition (that could affect my vote).
- Voting with conscience, on each matter according to its merits, favouring no party, not even a fellow party member.
I promise transparency by:
- Supporting free speech.
- Encouraging whistleblowers.
- Believing in the public’s right to know.
- Contributing to a quarterly newsletter/article addressed to the public.
- Making my vote on important Council matters known (and explained) to the public.
- Encouraging media access to local government.
- Posting the party’s annual accounting online.
I promise necessity by:
- Addressing tough topics such as racism, crime, drugs, pollution and budgets. I will not avoid tough issues for the sake of public relations or image (for myself or the town/city).
I promise to sign a Councillor Commitment Form that states that the public (who voted me into office) are my employer and thus, after a one-year settling into office period, have the right to recall me if they believe that I’ve failed to uphold my party’s constitution or do my best to achieve my election promises.
COUNCILLOR COMMITMENT FORM
I, ___________________________ (name) with ____________________ (candidate councillor ID), acknowledge that I will effectively be an employee of the voters of Ward ____ (number) in ___________________ (town/city) if elected as a ward or proportional representative councilor during the ________ (year) local elections.
I acknowledge that it is the voters of the said ward who, through payment of their rates and taxes, pay my salary.
I therefore commit myself to direct democracy in the following ways:
- I commit to regular and effective consultation with the voting public through public meetings and communication with local residents’ associations and community groups via the local press, local radio stations or in person.
- I agree to vote in Council in accordance to the best interest of the voters who elected me, who may from time to time be polled by means of a referendum.
- I am committed to ensuring that the wishes of my constituency are effectively communicated and advocated for in Council and at all levels of local government.
- I am also committed in doing everything within my power to ensuring that by-laws are upheld and that service delivery is efficient and effective in the ward I’m elected.
- I commit to being held accountable for my performance by the voters.
- I further agree that the registered voters in the ward in question should be able to remove me from office. Should 51% or more of the number of voters (who voted in the ward I was elected to) sign an open petition, I will comply with their wishes and resign.
The petition must, however, adhere to the following rules and regulations:
The petition must have a proper heading, with reasoning for the petition, on the top of every page of the petition;
The petition must be completed within a 30-day period, showing the date the petition was drawn up in the heading;
The following voter information must be on the petition:
- Full name, voter ID number, contact number and address;
- The date signed by the voter & include the signature of the voter.
- The petition must be an original document (no photocopies will be accepted).
- A petition of this nature may not, however, be initiated within 12 months of me taking office or after an election date has been set, and may not continue once an election date has been set.
I will be given 30 days to verify the facts of the petition.
Should I not resign, following the results of a proven recall petition, I will donate half of my salary (after tax) to the community, payable in monthly installments over the remainder of my term, for use in the community in a way to be decided by the voters in my ward at a public meeting with at least 50 registered voters in attendance.
This blog is especially dedicated to my hometown of Knysna
and other small towns that add up to millions of voters being forgotten or abused.