Good afternoon IMASA Knights
It is indeed a great privilege to present to you the 19th Annual Report of the Institute for Municipal Administrators of South Africa (IMASA). Our Institute is now approaching its third decade and it is reassuring to note that IMASA is, after twenty years, despite challenges, still vibrant, purposeful and successful. IMASA is 20 Years Young.
At my first inauguration as President in 2015, I made the commitment from my heart that I will serve IMASA and strive to promote and further the common interests of its members, endeavour to reach the objectives and founding values of IMASA. I promised that we, together, would change the IMASA world. I wanted to be like the words of Ayn Rand – “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
However, municipal and real life happens. Municipal challenges increased. Some doors closed due to changes in legislation. Politics driving the governing of most municipalities. Disclaimed Auditor General Opinion and increasingly corrupt municipal officials.
In my second year, I realised it is time to forget about the fast lane. If I really want to fly, I have to harness my power to my passion. I have learned more about individual members by means of strong initiatives and the impact they made within their municipalities. I had the privilege to assist members, listen to challenges, illnesses and being a listening ear when municipal matters were too much and there is still no doubt in my mind that we share the same passion and pride for IMASA.
After my third term, I am even more deeply concerned about the well-being and future of our beloved institute. Although legislation informs that all senior municipal official should belong to a professional institute, IMASA is no longer the only professional institute. Most disciplines have their own institute – and the question of what can we do differently to be the preferred institute to attract new members and attain current members, is constantly on my mind. With the words of Max du Pree, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant” I realised that we should all become servants again.
Municipal official will always be the ones who are in touch and on track with legislative responsibilities and operations. The ones that councillors and the community can count on to make sure that the municipality operates smoothly. Our jobs are multi-faceted and ever changing. This requires us to engage in continuing education and networking to keep abreast of changing laws and trends.
IMASA provides a vehicle for members to receive the background and knowledge needed to help them deal with current problems. The future of municipal government depends on informed public officials. Informed IMASA Knights through education. Institutions come and go, but we have the choice of making a difference while we are here.
Vision and Strategy for 2017/18
IMASA still strives to become more visible through commitment, action, and influence and not allowing politics to drive the governing of municipalities. We aimed to be agents of good governance, keepers of the public record, historians, and ensuring continuity of service no matter what is going on in the world around us.
Workshops and conferences become more challenging by the day, but we as IMASA are an integral part of our government and we must be dedicated to preserve and protect our profession. We need to discover new means of promoting the awareness of IMASA.
The original wish of IMASA, when established on 02 October 1997, was that the institutes should be branch driven with the NIC (NMC) in a the supervisory role. We should get back to basics as we still mark the turning point in IMASA; we are at the edge of great decisions. However, to abandon our institute because we are scared for the future and struggle to attend meetings, is a sure way to lose our footing.
Believe in yourself, believe in IMASA and believe you can make a difference. I challenge each IMASA member to become re-energized in local government.
Remember, IMASA can only be as strong as its branches. The branches are the backbone of our activities, not the NMC.
IMASA has recruited 14 new members during the past year. Although some branches has cleaned-up their membership lists and terminated the names of inactive members there is still a slow growth in membership. It remains a challenge to grow our membership in all nine Provinces, as five provinces are somehow non-existing.
It is therefore imperative that we seek ways to increase our membership to ensure that IMASA is taken seriously as a major role player in Local Government circles. Recruitment of new members is a collective responsibility and I therefore again urge and challenge every member of IMASA to recruit at least one new member this coming year, as it would effectively double our membership.
Branch affairs are a major concern. It seems all branches are struggling to get their members involved in IMASA affairs. It is therefore crucial to ensure our members receive value for their money. Efforts should be made to ensure that branches are strengthened to function optimally.
The North West, Limpopo and Western Cape Branches have full Branch Management Committees (BMC) in place.
It however, gives me pleasure to report the Limpopo branch is still the only shining star that is currently functioning at an acceptable level. The Limpopo branch has convened four successful workshops. Well done!
The Western Cape branch aimed to arrange workshops, but due to low attendance had to postpone. Nevertheless, they have arrange what promises to be an excellent conference. Western Cape, know that your efforts and dedicated work is noticed.
The Gauteng branch successfully appointed an interim BMC, which I had the privilege to meet. Derek, I believe in you and your team will re-instate the honour and success of the Gauteng branch. I believe the branch will next year be the official competition of Limpopo.
The North West branch is still going through difficult times. None of the municipalities in the North West province could manage to obtain a qualified audit opinion, mostly disclaimers, which resulted in municipalities not having the finances to assist members to attend branch meetings and workshops. However, I believe we will revive and come back as strong as always.
A decision was taken at a NMC meeting that the President visits all branches; sadly, no invitation was received during the year under discussion.
The financial report to be tabled later on will provide a comprehensive view of our financial standing. It seems after a pre-glance that our finances are stable and no longer precarious as mentioned last year. IMASA is in a sound financial state.
Our financial strength currently depends solely on membership fees and funds generated by our annual conferences, and it will suffice to say that sponsorships and donations are most welcome, especially to bankroll our certification programme.
National Management Committee
The NMC successfully met at four occasions during the past year, to pursue decisions of the Annual General Meeting and to deal with the many strategic and policy matters of the institute. It was earlier decided to scale down the number of NMC meetings due to financial constraints on the part of members in relation to traveling and so on, as a result most of the issues were delegated to the NMC.
I was privileged to attend the 72th IIMC Annual Conference from 19 – 23 May 2018 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, as mandated by the Institute. I was privileged to be accompanied by the Deputy President, Winnie Baloyi. I thank IMASA sincerely for the opportunity to represent IMASA at an international conference. It was an absolute honour to hold the name of IMASA high and to carry our national flag in Virginia, USA.
700+ Delegates, including inter alia USA, Canada, Bermuda, England, Scotland, Wales, Belgium, Netherlands and Israel, attended the 72th IIMC Annual Conference. What a networking opportunity and event is was! In addition, great to meet “old” friends again.
As mentioned last year, the constitutional and institutional arrangements of the municipalities in the USA differs largely from South Africa. Belonging to the IMC is compulsory to all municipal officials in the USA which results in financial support of municipalities regarding membership fees and conferences, but they also share common concerns like nepotism and corruption to name some examples. They are however very serious about holding perpetrators accountable and prosecuting them to the full extent of their law.
The conference programme was intensive with:
- an impressive opening ceremony;
- 10 concurrent educational sessions;
- 2 general sessions;
- 6 annual conference educational programmes;
- 4 Athenian Leadership Society dialogues;
- 4 different meetings;
- an ”all-conference” event; and
- finally the glamorous annual banquet.
The general sessions were excellent as always! We were addressed by the world famous Major Mary Jennings Hegar – author to the book and soon-to-be motion picture, “Shoot like a girl: One woman’s dramatic fight in Afghanistan and on the home front” with the topic “Be the Change…” What an honour to meet her personally! A living Purple Heart soldier! Great women and example to all human kind.
The second speaker during the general session was none other than our own South African Neal Petersen! His topic was “No Barriers – Only Solutions”. Also a privilege to meet him in person. He also joined the Region 11 group afterwards for dinner.
The concurrent sessions made it not possible to attend all sessions. The attendance at the sessions was on a first come first serve basis, with the result that when all the available seats were occupied the venue doors closed and you were not allowed in.
The topics of the concurrent sessions were:
- Utilizing Non-Paid Staff to Meet Community Needs;
- Cultural and Linguistic Competence;
- Empowering Leadership;
- How to Create a Memorable Council Orientation;
- Surviving Life Under the Limbo Bar;
- The Freedom of Information Act—The Do’s, the Don’ts;
- Uncertainties; Developing Effective and Interactive Training Programs;
- The Courage and Compassion to Do the Right Thing: A Lesson in Making a Positive Difference;
- The Realignment Roundabout: Overcoming Failure and
- Ethical Issues for Local Government Clerks.
Winnie and myself had to miss out the conference educational programmes and dialogues as it were too expensive (R2 500 and R1 650 per session respectively) for us South Africans to attend. I have read some feedbacks on the dialogs and programmes and it sounds excellent. Very educational.
All Institutes outside the USA are grouped under Region 11, including South Africa. A function was arranged so that all members could have the opportunity to meet and discuss municipal matters. Again, the same common concerns were raised.
I, again thank IMASA sincerely for the opportunity.
IMASA Training Trust
After discussion with SETA is seems IMASA as an institute can register as a service provider as we do have an office, bank account, NMC, VAT clearance, etc. The NMC made a resolution on 2 March 2018 to request Adv Stephan Pick to terminate the IMASA Training Trust, which is costly with no income and still not operational due to training material not developed. In addition, IMASA will only receive 25% of all income generated through the Trust of which only 15% will be for the branch account and 10% for the NMC account. It was decided that branches would revert to original arrangements, by arranging workshop with accredited service providers until such time that IMASA is more knowledgeable.
I have requested the Administrator and Adv Piek during April 2018 to keep the Trust termination in abeyance until such time that IMASA is sure that we can registered the institute as a service provider without a trust.
After 3 years IMASA still only have three accredited Assessors and one Moderator. No branch has submitted any training material for accreditation, due to the daily work commitments, none of the members had time to compile and submit training material for accreditation.
During 2018 I was contracted by Mr Frans Labuschagne, Deputy Director: Competency Training of the Tshwane Municipality enquiring about the issuing of Continuous Development Points (CDP) to its members attending training courses, seminars, workshops or conferences. He indicated that he had done extensive investigation to find an institute that would best cater for leadership development in local authorities. Specifically for staff on levels lower than the City Manager and EDs or Directors reporting directly to him/her. His conclusion was that IMASA was best positioned for this but our constitution does not specifically include leadership as one of the disciplines required for professional membership.
I was further invited to a meeting with Mr Labuschagne and Prof Derick de Jongh of the University of Pretoria to discuss this matter. Prof de Jongh indicated that an accredited short course in Leadership has been developed and that he is ready to present such a course under the auspices of IMASA. It was suggested that should IMASA be willing to expand its constitution to include leadership as one of the disciplines required for professional membership and issue CDP to its members attending such a course, the course could be presented to staff members of Tshwane Municipality as a pilot project.
The NMC agreed that IMASA entered into a MoU with UP to promote and conduct leadership programmes in the name of IMASA. IMASA has successfully recruited Frans as an IMASA member who will assist me with the correct way to accredit IMASA as a SETA Accredited Service Provider who complies with all SAQA and SETA standards.
Our first workshop for accreditation will be on 15 November 2018. I therefor humbly request the meeting to support the proposal that I commence with the IMASA accreditation matter.
I am proud to announce that IMASA has appointed a new service provider for the website. The website had a facelift and is fully functional!
IMASA members are requested to become involved and forward news and important matters to their various branch secretaries for liaison with the Administrator to be uploaded via the webmaster on the website. Please, IMASA Knights, use and promote our website – www.imasa.net.
IMASA was and is faced by various challenges, such as the upcoming local government elections, recognition by municipalities, shrinking membership, inactive branches, lack of approval to attend workshop and conferences, non-commitment of members and non-payment of membership fees. Legislative changes such as accredited service providers for workshops and cost-containment measures from National Treasury.
We should stop dreaming and seeing barriers, we should seek solutions and work for success. We should make challenges opportunities and work toward it. Didn’t our beloved father of the nation, Dr Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”?
I still stand by what I said. Collectively, we as IMASA members can increase the presence, credibility, and influence of IMASA when we commit to work together. We have worked too hard to quit now.
My dream is that the new leadership will successfully implement the way forward. We as IMASA members must ensure that all our members are equipped to:
- Establish IMASA as a successful SETA Accredited Service Provider.
- Do more with less.
- Take action through the development and delivery of educational programs, shared resources, and the many valuable networking and mentoring opportunities available to us.
- Become dedicated IMASA Knights through commitment, action, and influence that serve as a foundation for continuity and effective governance.
- Remember who we are serving and use your influence to effect positive change.
- Supporting different branch initiatives / workshops.
- Recruit members.
- Be the change that you want to see in your municipality.
- Respect one another’s professions.
- Be dedicated to serve our profession… recognized for an increasingly rare combination of qualities which demonstrates the quality of a public servant capable of upholding the integrity of the municipality.
Start asking yourself: What can I do for IMASA…
Since 1998, as a founding member of IMASA, I have been intensely involved in the affairs of IMASA. I never expected to be elected as Deputy and then as National President. I sincerely hope that I performed to the member’s expectations. I trust I added value to IMASA and to local government. Thank you IMASA, for allowing me to be a member and President of such a great institute. I am proud to be an IMASA Knight and a dedicated municipal official and it was an honour to offer my service at this pivotal time in our institute.
I want to express my extreme gratitude towards my municipality, the City of Matlosana for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to tend to IMASA affairs. A special word of thanks to my Municipal Manager, Mr Roger Nkhumise for always supporting and assisting me in easy and difficult times.
I also want to thank all municipalities for their support in affording our members the opportunity to attend this conference and participate in IMASA’s activities.
I further want to thank my Deputy, all the members of the NMC and Administrator, the North West branch, my IMASA family, for their dedication and support even when we had differences and all the members of IMASA for their continued membership and contributions. Thank you for also being part our IMASA family.
Lastly but most importantly, I want to thank the Almighty God for this privilege and my family, Fanie, Franco, Clara and my mom, Rika for their continuous support and belief in me. Without God and the support of my family and friends, I would not be in this fortunate position today.
Thanks for the shared experiences, the treasured memories, and the spirited fellowship. We have a lot of work to do in the upcoming year, and I believe the best is yet to come.
I am closing with the words of Major Mary Jennings Hegar “When someone tells you that something cannot be done, the only way to prove them wrong is to do what they believe to be impossible”.
I wish you a wonderful, vibrant and exciting conference.
Believe in yourself, believe in IMASA and believe that you can make a difference. Go IMASA forever!
I thank you
CHERèL JANSEN VAN RENSBURG
17 OCTOBER 2018