PRETORIA– South Africa’s Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Zweli Mkhize, says the Ministry has resolved to step in to support dysfunctional and distressed municipalities in the country a bid to help them improve service delivery.
The Minister said this at a media conference Tuesday following two weeks of briefings he received from the Ministry’s stakeholders, including CoGTA provincial leadership. Last Friday, the department held a Meeting of Minister and MECs, where information from provinces and municipalities was analysed.
The Constitution of the Republic envisaged that municipalities may struggle to independently execute their mandates. It then made a provision, in terms of Section 154(1) that national and provincial governments, by legislative measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to execute their powers and to perform their functions,” said Mkhize.
The Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, through its implementing agent, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Grant, has decided to intervene extensively and urgently in dysfunctional municipalities and those in distress, in relation to the development and maintenance of infrastructure.”
The Minister said despite the government’s successful infrastructure delivery programme over the past 20 years, accompanied by technical capacity-building initiatives over the years, some municipalities still struggle to use the funds allocated to them.
He said based on the department’s assessments and reports, the performance of a majority of all municipalities was still lagging, with only seven per cent of the country’s municipalities are classified as well functioning. About 31 per cent are reasonably functional, while another 31 per cent are almost dysfunctional and the remaining 31 per cent are dysfunctional.
He said the Ministry would send technical capacity experts to provide support to municipalities to improving their service delivery. The focus of the teams will be to provide infrastructure planning, delivery, operation and maintenance as well as infrastructure management, financial management as well as governance and administration issues, added Mkhize.
The deployment will place emphasis on the provision of scarce skills such as civil engineering, construction and project management, financial/accounting expertise, town and regional planning, as well as expertise in governance and administration. It is envisaged that these teams will build permanent capacity in these municipalities beyond project implementation.
Importantly, all supported municipalities will be expected to develop and adopt financial recovery plans to ensure that they become financially stable and have the capacity to independently fund their commitments,” the Minister said.
Given the difficult situation that our country faces as a water scarce country, consideration is being given to the need to curb the non-revenue water losses through improving water conservation and water demand management in municipalities. Municipalities contribute to water losses through poorly maintained infrastructure within their water reticulation networks and improper asset management.
A reduction in water losses will save the precious commodity, while contributing towards improved revenue collection and reliability of water supply.”
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK