Future of SA Under Spotlight at Local Government Conference
The Democracy Development Programme (DDP) in collaboration with Professor Purshottama Reddy of the School of Management, IT and Governance hosted the eighth local government conference at Elangeni Hotel, Durban last week.
Reddy was the co-host and Chairperson of the conference themed: Towards Good Subnational Governance and Sustainable Development: Vision 2030.
Reddy said in the 20 years he has worked with the DDP, co-hosting conferences and seminars on a collaborative basis, he was certain that the conference is historic in that the partnership between UKZN and DDP has been formalised through a three year MOU and will yield positive results.
‘There is an urgent need to overcome rampant corruption and improve equitable service delivery in an African and South African context, this two day conference will interrogate some of the critical issues impacting on good governance and sustainable development in terms of the national benchmark,’ said Reddy.
Dignitaries who addressed the conference included Ms Michaela Braun (Konrad- Adenauer Stiftung), Mr Thando Tubane (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs KZN), Dr Pearl Sithole (KZN Commissioner Public Service and former UKZN lecturer), Mr Frikkie Brooks (Provincial Planning Commission), Dr Krish Kumar (eThekwini Municipality) Professor Jaap De Visser (University of Western Cape), Professor Chris Thornhill (University of Pretoria) and Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research at UKZN.
Ramjugernath, in delivering the keynote address on The Role of Universities in Driving Innovation and Sustainability, started his address by pointing out how the functions of the world were rapidly changing due to the fourth industrial revolution and how universities were lagging behind.
‘Universities are training students to be good employees, not employers,’ said Ramjugernath.
He said universities needed to become innovative and entrepreneurial in order to address the socio-economic challenges faced by the country. These challenges include unemployment, poverty, low economic growth, massive inequality and a lack of service delivery.
‘We should be aiming for our graduates to be fit-for-purpose, to contribute to socio-economic improvement through activities that promote economic growth and job creation – entrepreneurship which is why UKZN has come up with a strategy wheel using the quadruple helix innovation to catch up and create a space that is a nucleation site for high level, high technology entrepreneurship,’ he said.
There were many excellent inputs throughout the conference that outlined that promoting good governance and enhancing service delivery at the subnational level sustainably should be a major priority for government.
Departments in attendance were urged to implement changes they have brought forward or else the same issues would be repeated at the next conference.
Other academics from the School of Management, IT and Governance who participated were Professor Betty Mubangizi and Professor Thokozani Nzimakwe, who chaired sessions on the second day of the conference.
Dr Bongani Qwabe gave a talk on Monitoring, Evaluation and Knowledge Management in Subnational Government, and PhD student and COGTA Chief Director: Capacity Building, Ms Halima Khunoethe spoke on Skills Development and Women empowerment.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga