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Local Government Week 2020 | Ensuring Capable and Financially Sound Municipalities: Day Two





Posted: 08 September 2020

Day two of the 8th annual Local Government Week, on Wednesday 09 September 2020, heard Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) MECs from each of South Africa’s nine provinces, spell out their plans to improve service delivery.

The MECs outlined the granular details of their plans during the third session on day two of the annual Local Government week, which is being hosted by SALGA, in partnership with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), under the theme: "Ensuring Capable and Financially Sound Municipalities."

The annual Local Government Week, which started on Tuesday 09 September 2020 and ends on Friday 11 September 2020, is a platform for Parliamentarians, senior members of the national and provincial SALGA leadership, Cabinet Ministers and MECs, the Auditor-General, independent analysts and strategic entities, to share their reflections on issues affecting local government, in order to improve the lives of South Africans through accelerated service delivery.

Under the discussion topic, “Plans to Improve Service Delivery, Financial Management and Develop Capacity in the Local Sphere of Government, especially in Municipalities under Section 139 (with repetitive disclaimed audit opinions), nine CoGTA MECs shared their experiences:

  • Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Xolile Nqatha.
  • Free State Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Thembeni Nxangisa.
  • Limpopo Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Basikopo Makumo.
  • Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Mandla Msibi.
  • Gauteng Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Lebogang Maile.
  • Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell.
  • North West Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Boitumelo Moiloa.
  • Northern Cape Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Bentley Vass.
  • KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Sipho Hlomuka.

These are some of the key highlights of what discussed:

MEC Nqatha emphasized that all financial positions in Eastern Cape Provincial municipalities should be filled with suitable employees who have specialized management and accounting skills. This with the aim to avoid being reliant on professional services consultancies. He added that in some instances, the efficiency of these consultants was questionable.

MEC Nxangisa spoke on how the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) provided technical support to 9 Free State municipalities for the financial year 2019/2020. This was done with the aim to boost their technical capacities.

MEC Makumo said despite the challenges facing Limpopo municipalities, incremental progress was being made towards the provision of water, sanitation and electricity services to the poor. He did however acknowledge that the provision of water services needed to be ramped-up.

MEC Msibi stated that the Mpumalanga Provincial Government had placed a number of municipalities under administration in a bid to restore governance and financial management. He said a team comprising the heads of departments from CoGTA and the provincial Treasury had been established to provide support to struggling municipalities.

MEC Maile reported on the Gauteng Provincial Government’s efforts to provide asset management support to municipalities in the province. He said the provincial CoGTA was providing asset management support to municipalities to ensure that their Asset Registers were compliant with the required GRAP Standards. He added that Lesedi, Emfuleni, Rand West City and Merafong City local municipalities were assisted in terms of compiling GRAP 17 compliant infrastructure Fixed Asset Registers

MEC Bredell said he was pleased to report that most municipalities in the Western Cape were in a reasonably good financial position and continued to have sufficient cash flow to fund their operations. He did however note that consumer debt and the collection thereof continued to be a challenge.

MEC Moiloa said the North West Provincial Government invoked additional Section 139 interventions in several municipalities including JB Marks in Potchefstroom and Madibeng in Brits. She said this was done with the aim of improving service delivery and financial management in distressed local authorities.

MEC Vass spoke about the provincial government’s interventions in the Renosterberg Local Municipality and the Phokwane Local Municipality in the Northern Cape, due to governance and financial challenges. He said he was hopeful that the provincial government’s efforts would bear fruit.

MEC Hlomuka said that out of a total of 54 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, 9 had been placed under administration in a bid to nurse them back to health. He added that the provincial government appointed qualified administrators in all 9 municipalities and monthly progress were being furnished. Hlomuka emphasized that the administrators’ performance indicators were being monitored by the relevant business units.

Following the presentations, NCOP Deputy Chairperson Sylvia Lucas, who facilitated the programme, opened up the floor for a group discussion covering some of the following areas.

  • Human resources
  • Weak financial management and low budget spend
  • Lack of oversight and accountability
  • Technical skills gap and lack of relevant competencies
This was followed by Chief Whip of the NCOP, Seiso Mohai, who brought the day’s proceedings to a close.

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