Local govt meeting was a success - Zuma

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has described his recent meeting with mayors and municipal managers from all 283 municipalities in the country as a success.

"We had fruitful discussions and the meeting was a success. The outcomes of the meeting were that government should do everything possible to address the major challenges facing local government," Zuma said on Thursday.

He was responding to questions raised by political parties in the National Assembly.

The President said the meeting resolved that government would capacitate municipalities and strengthen intergovernmental relations in order to improve the delivery of services to the people.

"We also resolved that we will improve the governance, financial and administrative capacities in some municipalities as well as root out corruption and address the political problems that are causing great delays in service delivery."

Furthermore, the meeting agreed that there was a need for municipalities to prioritise skills development, and the recruitment of accountants and other skilled personnel to ensure efficiency.

It is apparent that at some municipalities, the lack of service delivery and mismanagement of resources was a result of poor or unavailable skills," the President said.

The Local Government Indaba on the State of Local Government, which was held a day after the Khayelitsha meeting, resolved to develop a Turn-around Strategy for Local Government, which will be ready in the next few months.

The strategy is aimed at explaining in detail how government plans to change the state of local government in a manner that will ensure that local government functions efficiently and effectively in delivering services.

This strategy is also designed to provide solutions on how the lack of service delivery in municipalities could be turned around for the benefit of the people.

Zuma said they had asked the other two spheres of government to provide all the necessary support to municipalities in order to make sure that local government functions better.

In addition, provincial and national departments as well as other state organs that owe money to municipalities have been encouraged to pay what is owed as soon as it is possible.

"We have made a call to all municipalities to focus on their mandate of serving our people with dedication, humility and honesty because we believe that better functioning municipalities will play a meaningful role in ensuring that our dream of a better life for all is achieved."

Zuma said the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka will monitor progress in this regard and report back on a quarterly basis.