ICMA International / Where We Work / South Africa

South Africa

South Africa

ICMA's work in South Africa has involved CityLinks partnerships, advisory services in Johannesburg, and a skill-building course on effective service delivery and community-based development. Most recently, ICMA has facilitated exchanges between the city of Durban and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, focusing on regional approaches to climate mitigation.

Work in South Africa began in 1995, when ICMA assembled five technical experts to help the South African Ministry for Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development create a process to ensure that local government officials were able to provide essential services to all South African citizens.  This relationship would later focus on heightened solid waste management and the need for efficient and effective overall management and service delivery.   

Senior Advisory Services for Johannesburg (1999–2001) 

As a follow-up to a 1996-1999 ICMA Resource City project involving a partnership between the Greater Johannesburg Transitional Metropolitan Council (GJTMC) and the City of Houston, Texas, ICMA provided technical assistance to Greater Johannesburg with the consolidation of five separate solid waste management utilities into a single Waste Management Utility Department. The work was undertaken under the Sustainable Urban Management (SUM) program.

Specifically, ICMA provided an international expert with similar experiences to those facing Johannesburg to assist in the consolidation process.  The consultant also served on an advisory board that established the new Waste Management and Electricity Utility and supported the formulation of strategies, policies, and planning activities.  Specific areas of assistance included:  developing the business plan; selecting the managing director; identifying customer service standards and staff re-training needs; identifying international best practices; establishing a regulatory framework; developing medium and long-term sustainability strategies; and training emerging managers. 

The consultant also supported the evaluation and scoring of proposals for the management services solicited for the operation of the new Water and Sanitation Utility Company, then supported activities relating to the transfer of employees from the GJTMC to the new Water and Sanitation Utility Company. Services included developing a scope of services for the creation of an employee compensation, classification, and performance evaluation program.

This program was aimed to aid in the creation of a high performing organization by formally establishing the basis from which all work was to be done, managed, and rewarded. The successful implementation of this program was to result in the full realization of a service delivery organization whose functions, orientation, and productivity could be tracked and measured reliably, and improved as necessary.  

Cities Matter:  Principles and Practices of Local Government, South Africa

ICMA, in conjunction with the office of Environment and Urban programs, Environment Center, Global Bureau, offered “Cities Matter: The Impact of Effective Government Decentralization on Environmental, Social, and Economic Development” in May 2000 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  This project was conducted in 1999-2000, also under SUM.

The course was designed to provide participants with an understanding in the ways in which local governments’ practices and investment decisions can impact all sectors, including health, education, environment, democracy and governance, economic growth, and poverty alleviation.  Course attendees included participants from South Africa, Madagascar, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Zambia, Ghana, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States. 

The course emphasized the transfer of concrete technical skills in both effective delivery systems and community-based development through presentations by city managers and practitioners from a variety of sectors.  The participants were asked to determine whether and how current local governance and management practices--related to the cornerstones of citizen participation, revenue generation, organization, and customer service--affected service delivery in the areas of public health, public safety, environment protection, and economic growth. 

Through case study presentations, lectures, and team tasks, the course participants identified critical areas within the governing structure of their respective countries that hindered local governments in effectively delivering services.

Resource Cities Program:  Johannesburg, South Africa, and Houston, Texas

The international Resource Cities partnership between the cities of Johannesburg, South Africa ,and Houston, Texas (1997-1998), grew from the training opportunities that ICMA provided to emerging local government managers throughout South Africa. 

The city of Johannesburg struggled to provide efficient and effective solid waste management.  Therefore, the partner cities identified increased worker productivity and improved service delivery as the key objectives.  The cities discussed different ways to motivate and staff through performance incentives.  During the partnership the Johannesburg officials passed a resolution that established a recycling/buyback center in the western area of the city of Johannesburg.