Bethlehem – The 2014 Provincial Speakers Forum took place on the 25th of September 2014, in Bethlehem, Dihlabeng Municipality, Town Hall. The Speakers’ Forum was chaired by the Deputy Speaker of the Free State Legislature, Hon. Sizwe Mbalo and was well attended by 17 Speakers of Local and District Municipalities in the province.
The 2014 Speakers Forum is coordinated under the leadership of the Speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature who acts a Chairperson of the Forum, the Deputy Speaker of the Free State Legislature, who acts the Deputy Chairperson to the Forum.
The 2014 Provincial Speakers’ Forum dealt with the following issues;
(1) Composition of the Provincial Speakers Forum (2) Memorandum of Understanding (3) Establishment of the District Speakers Forums.
The purpose of the Provincial Speakers Forum is to bridge a gap between the Free State Legislature and Municipalities with a view of establishing a single window of coordination. The Speakers’ Forum is unanimous on the view that Local Government remains the core platform and environment for delivery of services by the government to the people. Therefore, the Speakers’ Forum will in due course initiate a process of engagements with Chapter 9 Institutions, and other Stakeholders in the province to highlight issues of convergence and non-convergence with a view of finding workable solutions.
The meeting agreed that the Speakers’ Forum shall be constituted by the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Free State Legislature, Speakers of 19 Local Municipalities, 4 District Municipalities and 1 Metro shall serve as core members of the Free State Provincial Speakers’ Forum. The Forum shall have a Technical Support Team that consists of officials from the Free State Legislature and Municipalities. The meeting also agreed that District Speakers’ Forums must be used as a platform to share information on best practices, also to ensure that in areas where the Districts Forums have not been established, they are immediately established and coordinated be chaired by the District Speakers.
The Forum discussed in length the draft Memorandum of Understanding and agreed that the signing thereof will take place once it is tabled and considered by all Municipal Councils. The meeting also agreed that all Municipalities are expected to have signed the MoU by the end of October 2014. The purpose of the MoU is to formalise working relations between the parties concerned, to coordinate our work on issues of common interest, to share experiences with view of empowering others.
The Acting Chairperson of the Provincial Speakers Forum, Hon. Sizwe Mbalo was happy that the meeting was a great success since dealt completely with the business of the forum.