Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan has set the bar high for municipalities, saying they must have sound financial management in the next five years.
“Every municipality should have a sound and functional management system with the appropriate level of internal control. Municipalities should also cut wasteful expenditure and focus expenditure on investment infrastructure in performing the service delivery role that they are required to perform.
“Every municipality will be asked to deliver a basic basket of services as efficiently and diligently as possible, which will be monitored by both the provincial and national government.
“What we mean by this is that we have to make sure that robots are working, potholes are sealed, water is delivered, refuse is collected, electricity is in supply… and that cutting of grass, which is the core to keeping the environment clean, is being carried out. These basic services must be performed by all 278 municipalities,” he said.
Minister Gordhan was speaking to reporters prior to his Budget Vote Speech in Parliament on Thursday.
He told reporters that in the next five years, his department – in partnership with Environmental Affairs and Water and Sanitation — will be vigorously responding to crises daily such as infrastructure failure, water supply cut-off, power failure and anything else that is not be working as expected.
“This we will do to understand and respond to structural challenges we face within the local government system and as part of that, to build resilient local government institutions… within all the spheres of government,” he said.
Treasury has issued sets of accounting or transactions standards in April this year, so that every municipality in the country captures its transaction in the same manner.
Minister Gordhan said: “This will eventually enable us to centrally monitor the way in which local government manages its finances. Together with national Treasury, we will be able to know what is happening in each municipality.”
With regards to governance, the said there must be appropriate transparency in the way decisions are made by officials and political office bearers, adding that public accountability must be a priority as well.
His view on proper administration is that competent people should be appointed in the right positions to perform the right kind of tasks. Performance management systems must be functional too.
Gordhan said there should be appropriate levels of role definition and role separation in that politicians should not be doing the work of officials, and officials should not presume to be politicians in executing their tasks.
“We will be announcing a set of non-negotiables during our Budget Vote … Part of the non-negotiables is that every municipality should work with citizens and other spheres of government to deliver a decent living environment for our citizens, good governance, and increasing control on supply chain management so that we have less or eradicate wasteful management and corruption…
“In terms of financial management, municipalities should cut wasteful spending through buying cars that are affordable within the context of their operational budget spending.”
Minister Gordhan also announced that in the next five years, greater effort must be made to support and encourage municipalities to take their own initiatives to create economic activities and job opportunities.
This will, Minister Gordhan said, widen their revenue base. Municipalities also had to collect debts owed to them.
“During this administration term, we will also enforce a provision which says in every municipal budget, at least 7% of the operating budget must be set aside for the maintenance of infrastructure.
“A lot of our problems in our municipalities arise from the fact that inadequate attention is given to maintenance within those municipalities,” he said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za