What is the Role of Ward Committees in a Municipality?

In this podcast we define the nature, functions, and responsibilities of ward committees.

A ward is an area in a metro or local municipality, which has clearly defined boundaries. A ward committee is a democratically elected body which represents a wide variety of community interests and meets regularly under the chairperson who is the ward councillor.

The municipality has the power to decide to have ward committees and if it does so it has to establish ward committees for all the wards in its jurisdiction.

Committees can have up to 10 members and who can represent a variety of interest groups. The ward committee members may also be elected on a geographical basis. Ward committees are a link between the municipality and the community.

Ward committees have the following responsibilities:

  1. Make representations and recommendations on local government issues in their wards.
  2. Communicate between the municipality and the people through the ward councillor.
  3. Hold the ward councillor accountable on the fulfilment of their duties.
  4. Engage the community through regular meetings and other forms of interaction.

How do ward committees function

A ward committee should meet at least 4 meeting in a year because ward councillors must report back to their wards on a quarterly basis. Ward committees must also meet when the following matters are discussed:

  1. the Integrated Development Plan
  2. the Performance Management System
  3. the Annual Budget
  4. the Annual Report
  5. Policies and by laws.

Various committees have formed partnerships over the years, and the result has been a cohesive campaign that has community members working towards a singular goal. Here is one such example in this video