On Wednesday 18 May South African citizens will vote in the 2011 Municipal Elections to choose the political parties and ward councillors that will represent their interests in Local Government.
We strongly encourage voters to carefully review the green competencies and environmental standpoints of the candidates before casting their vote.
Much of the decision making that affects each voter’s immediate living space is done at Local Government level, and voters should see the Municipal Elections as a vital opportunity to address their environmental concerns. They should choose party candidates and ward councillors that will keep environmental issues high on the agenda and that will involve the local communities in the decision making process regarding water, waste, land-use management, biodiversity and energy. Local Government must work together with civil society towards a sustainable and greener economy that will lead to improved human well-being and social equity, while confronting the threats of climate change and reducing environmental risks and the loss of biodiversity and natural services.
In addition to casting a vote for a political party that will represent them in their Municipal Council, voters will also cast a second vote in the election to choose their local ward councillor. Since these ward councillors are directly elected, voters can base their decision not just on the candidates’ party political affiliations, but also on each specific candidate’s environmental positions.
How ‘green’ is your ward councillor? There are many pressing local environmental issues on which voters should assess candidates’ viewpoints. For example, do we want new nuclear reactors in the Western Cape? Do we want to sacrifice agricultural land for the sake of mining? Do we want to see commercial development on our local green spaces?