Have you always had a passion for the people in your local community?
Do you dream of being able to help South Africans in need through a goal-driven public sector career? Then working as a local government and community development practitioner may be the ideal job for you.
MANCOSA offers a Local Government Management Certificate (Higher Certificate in Local Government and Development Management) that’ll teach you all the skills you need to become a valuable member of the local government development team.
In this article, we’ll discuss what local government development is, how it aids in growing the economy, and how a local government management certificate can enable you to have a fulfilling career.
What is local government development?
Local governments include municipalities and regional districts governed by the constitution and local government legislation.
They’re crucial in supporting and leading the creation of an economic development strategy. The strategy aims to provide revenue to maintain, develop, and improve local community services and infrastructure.
As such, the success of the economic development strategy will have a direct impact on a community’s tax base.
Local governments can also incorporate community economic planning efforts where the community plays an active role in making decisions. In so doing, this enables community growth.
Local government functions that have an impact on economic planning and development include the following:
- Collaboration between communities in more significant regions
- Planning by-laws
- Supporting local businesses
- Accessing and using programs given by the federal and provincial governments
- And more
Some advantages of local government activities that support economic growth include the following:
- Improving the quality of life by providing environmental and recreational areas, better services, social and cultural activities, and more.
- Creating and maintaining well-paying, stable jobs within the community
For example, in South Africa, Operation Phakisa was designed to accelerate the implementation of solutions to critical development issues. This initiative aims to address the problems related to education, skills, health, safety and security, skills, infrastructure, and more.
What is the role of local government development?
Local government development plays a significant role in developing the South African economy. They are more familiar with the local economy than any other level of government.
Here are some of the things they set out to achieve:
- Community empowerment by encouraging active participation and engagement from locals and building their capacity to manage their affairs.
- Improving service delivery by promoting the development and delivery of essential services, like healthcare, sanitation, education, etc.
- Decentralisation of decision-making power to local communities to build a strong community that’ll aid in economic growth.
- Economic development by investing in initiatives, like local entrepreneurship that’ll assist in creating employment opportunities or an economic boost in the area.
- Environmental impact protection that’ll help preserve and improve natural resources and enable sustainable development.
- Effective strategic planning to create policies across sectors that ensure consistency over time.
- Encouraging sustainable business practices to improve operational efficiency and drive down costs so businesses can make more profit and create more employment opportunities.
- Creating official community and strategic plans to accelerate economic growth across regional sectors.
How a local government management certificate assists local communities
To assist in local government development, you need to get training in the field. Not only will proper education and training enable you to do the job properly, but it’ll also make you eligible for employment in the local government development department.
Some of the reasons you should consider gaining a local government certification include the following:
1. Teach you the best practices
It’s always important to be efficient and compliant with policies and standards. The government is held to a far higher standard than most organisation and needs to drive service excellence.
One of the main reasons for this is that private sectors are driven by profit, whereas public sectors are citizen-orientated. Thus, you’ll always need to keep the community and its citizens in mind for every decision.
2. Complex nature of projects
There could be various challenges with specific projects, like the mindset of the local community, financial constraints, and the need for specialised skills (e.g., engineering) to carry out tasks.
Training and development will teach you how to handle these projects in the best possible way to attain the desired results.
3. Provide you with leadership skills
Being part of the local government means leading people to perform duties and achieve specific outcomes. Thus, a certificate will equip you with the critical leadership and management skills necessary for any project’s success.
4. Compliance with standards and regulations
As a local government employee, you’ll need to ensure that you comply with regulations and maintain high-level standards.
A certificate will expose you to the necessary standards, legislation and regulations,, such as environmental impact assessments, so you’re prepared and equipped to comply with and follow the rules at all times.
5. Effective community engagement
It’s essential to understand how to communicate with local communities since it’ll make it much easier to plan, implement, and manage community projects.
A certificate will teach you effective communication strategies to foster community growth and a sense of social inclusion.
The role of a local government and community development practitioner
Local government and community development practitioners are involved in local initiatives to improve the quality of life for various communities.
They’re responsible for applying themselves to different council departments, such as housing and social services, education, and more, to make a difference in the development of the municipality.
They aim to prevent or address matters relating to unemployment, lack of job skills, low incomes, discrimination, poor housing, etc.
Some of their tasks include:
- Supporting housing associations that provide affordable housing to locals.
- Making sure people of black and minority ethnic communities have access to education and health services.
- Setting up educational support schemes for low-income areas.
- Arranging the retraining of workers when a significant industry collapses.
- Helping to improve local transport facilities.
- Keeping accurate financial records.
- Writing reports on specific projects.
- And much more.
This is the ideal position for you if you’ve always wanted to help people and make a difference in the local communities of South Africa.
Are you interested in learning more about other municipal government courses? Learn more about the role of a public procurement officer.
Study a local government management certificate with MANCOSA
Are you ready to become a part of the local government development department?
Have a look at our Local Government Management Certificate. This one-year course will enable you to pursue a career in the public sector, where you can make a difference in people’s lives.
You can also look at other local government courses, such as our Bachelor of Public Administration.
Need help choosing the ideal public sector path for you? Fill out our enquiry form, and one of our consultants will get back to you.
Author: Sifundo Mdhluli – Academic