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The Accounting for Basic Services Project is jointly implemented by the Heinrich Boll Foundation (HBF), Afesis-Corplan, the Built Environment Support Group (BESG), Isandla Institute and PlanAct. This project was designed for and approved by the European Commission Delegation to South Africa within the rubric of its Socio-Economic Justice for All – Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Support programme, and will be implemented from June 2016 to September 2017.

A distinct focus is to build the capacity of communities, project partners and other CSOs active in the field of socio-economic rights. Over the course of the project, capacity building workshops will be held to strengthen the capacity of CSOs in terms of building community leadership structures, social accountability and budget expenditure monitoring methodologies. As four of the project partners are active members of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN), it was felt that other GGLN member organisations should also be included this learning opportunity.

The project’s central approach hinges on empowering marginalised communities to begin re-shaping their relationships with public representatives. As such, its outcomes and activities focus on the support and capacity building required by citizens marginalised by geography, poverty, race and gender, to hold local government to account. The project as a whole posits that when citizens are able to hold local government to account, the willingness and ability of the state at national and provincial level to support and sanction under-performing municipalities will also be strengthened.

By the end of the 2 year project marginalised communities in informal settlements, townships & rural areas have engaged with & held local government to account for the improved utilisation of state resources & the provision of basic services. The project supports two communities within the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (uMDM) by empowering them with tools to influence and monitor municipal finances, effectively participate in existing mechanisms, as well as convene their own platforms to improve intergovernmental coordination addressing specific problems.  The first community is based at kwa Nxamalala Ward 3 Msunduzi Municipality and the other at Mpolweni, Ward 10, uMshwathi Municipality. We support three community based organisations at kwaNxamalala in addressing the issue of youth unemployment through ensuring that the road construction projects in the Ward, amounting to R51 mil and a waste collection service yield jobs for the youth. In the Mpolweni community we are supporting the CBO in monitoring the R50 mil allocated uMDM for the roll out of Indigent Free Basic Services to qualifying households in their ward.     

Useful links:


Local Democracy in Action - video 

ABS Bootcamp 5 & 6 April 2018

Mpolweni community mobilises to access Free Basic Services - February 2018

Niren Tolsi's visit to the ABS project

Guide to Local Government Budget Advocacy in South Africa 2017

Fact sheet


Distress Fund

BESG often receives urgent calls from citizens whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. We will soon be setting up a Distress Fund facility in order to finance the repair or replacement of these homes.

Should you wish to contribute to this fund please contact us and the relevant information will be sent to you.

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Get a filling station to donate 10c to BESG for every litre you fill - It costs you nothing to participate !

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