2014 in motion

Service Editor, Lindsay King

By the time you read this, the Service team has gone from first, after a well-deserved break, to sixth gear in under 30 seconds. We are all fired up and ready for the challenges 2014 will be throwing at us.

With the national elections coming up, I am excited to see where things will be heading. With the born-frees voting for the first time and the recent happenings around Agang and the DA – it is sure to make for interesting times ahead. We will be keeping a close eye on the elections and the effects on local government.

Politics aside, looking back, 2013 was not one of the easiest years in the municipal world in South Africa – and I have to admit, the expectations were high. And despite criticism from the public and the media, I still maintain that most municipalities around the country have done their utmost to meet the challenges flung at them – at times with limited resources and knowledge. 

I am also convinced that there were many lessons learnt and that our municipal leaders will take from that and build on it this year to realise their goals and dreams to benefit the communities they serve.

One thing that really impressed last year was the many partnerships formed between local government and the private sector and the numerous valuable projects launched. I salute the business world for embracing, what is in my mind, one of the most important kinds of partnerships when it comes to development in SA. 

We have done some amazing work and cannot afford to rest on our laurels – the work has just begun. Among our biggest challenges this year, especially for the bigger metropolitan centres, will be dealing with issues relating to the rapid growth of urbanisation. Most of the issues municipalities are facing, in some way or another, relate to this topic, hence the strong focus on urbanisation in 
this issue.

Service attended the international Urban Matters (Cities of Future) event in Cape Town at the end of last year. The outcome of the workshops and sessions, and the insights of the experts, who attended, brought a whole new vision and understanding of this extremely topical issue.

I am certainly a lot wiser and I hope that what we have dished up in this issue will somehow inspire and give all of you more insight into where we are and, to some extent, provide solutions or plant seeds that will outgrow our urban issues.

Twenty years into democracy, the road ahead for local government is still a long one. In terms of other established democracies in the world, we have only just begun. There is still much to learn and it is a given that we will be making many mistakes along the way. 

But we have to allow ourselves to be brave, bold, innovative, and at times venture into the unknown. As a matter of fact, this is all unknown territory we are moving in – in our very young democracy.

If I can quote the Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics, George Bernard Shaw: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”.


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This edition

Issue 68