Local Government Indaba turns the corner in KZN municipalities

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, says there is ample evidence that where local government sufficiently and efficiently meets the needs of communities, there is greater social cohesion, stable societies and more opportunities for development.

Speaking at the Local Government Indaba in Durban, Zikalala said citizens who have given power to their various political representatives look up to them to create a capable local governmental State, which is human-centred, embodies the principles of ‘Batho-Pele’, and is ultimately able to contribute to the vision of a South Africa that is truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal and prosperous.

The Indaba took place shortly after Auditor-General, Tsakani Maluleke, released a report into the state of South African municipalities, which revealed that local government is characterised by poor governance, weak institutional capacity, and instability.

Maluleke also raised concern about financial management discipline and the need to safeguard and maintain municipal infrastructure to prevent mismanagement and financial loss.

While three municipalities in KZN obtained clean audits, the Auditor General’s report also shows that political instability, inexperienced officials and system-related challenges led to the poor opinions at the three disclaimed municipalities, all of which were under administration.

Municipalities with disclaimers include Inkosi Langalibalele, uMkhanyakude, Nquthu Amajuba, and uMzinyathi.

Zikalala said the Indaba, held under the theme ‘Turning the Corner in KZN Municipalities: Fostering peaceful and sustainable communities through the delivery of basic services’, should not be another talk shop, but it should go far in helping government regain and restore trust with the electorate.

“It should help us craft programmes to enthuse the public to get involved again in the democratic process not only during voting time, but throughout to hold councillors and government officials accountable.

“The theme is a crucial reminder of our resolve to build a capable developmental state which can tackle the root causes of the multiple challenges emanating from underdevelopment, inequality, poverty, unemployment, and the tragic scourge of gender-based violence,” Zikalala said.

He added that in the month of July, which is a poignant reminder of the destructive violence that befell KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng last year, the stakeholders must ensure that the discussions help them to make local government to better manage conflicts and to respond adequately to them while preventing loss of life, economic destruction, and loss of jobs.

“The White Paper on Local Government, the National Development Plan, the KZN Growth and Development Strategy, and the District Development Model (DDM) all contain a vision of local government becoming centres of economic development and engines of job creation.

“We are honoured as the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal that gathered here are all the stakeholders tasked with the crucial task of transforming local government and making it efficient so that it can indeed deliver a better life to all,” the Premier said. – SAnews.gov.za