Ministry aware of challenges in spending Municipal Infrastructure Grant

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pretoria - The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) says it is aware of the challenges that are being experienced by local municipalities in spending the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).

“The challenges were part of the diagnosis in the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS) as adopted by Cabinet in 2009. The diagnosis eventually became part of the portfolio’s five main priorities identified to give effect to the implementation of LGTAS,” the ministry explained in a statement on Monday.

Among the problems identified was poor planning related to procurement processes, hence the portfolio prioritises financial management, governance and infrastructure development.

“In that regard, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) was primarily created to assist municipalities with infrastructure planning- related matters. The MISA's on-going work is intended to assist in tackling these old perpetual bottlenecks of municipalities not spending the MIG in full.”

With regards to human resources-related matters within municipalities, the ministry said the slow filling of vacancies coupled with recruitment processes that do not attract best candidates as well as the suspension of senior officials - especially the Chief Financial Officers and some critical staff members - remain a challenge.

It said that initiatives from the ministry talk to these issues and Regulations on Municipal Systems Amendment Act (MSAA) are at an advance stage.

“It is just the reconsideration of the bracket that the regulation needs to cover and then issues of recruiting poorly qualified personnel becomes history within municipalities. Political instability in municipalities has also been identified in concurrence with the Auditor- General’s Municipal Audit Outcomes of the previous financial year,” said the ministry.

The ministry said it is also aware that in some municipalities, especially Limpopo, where municipal managers were suspended without Council delegating functions to any municipal official.

“That has a bearing on the progress of ensuring continuous procurement and service provider payment issues. In this regard the ministry is aware of these challenges faced by the municipalities nationwide and is offering support through various statutory mechanisms that are provided for in terms of its mandate.”

Interaction with provinces and other intergovernmental relations agents for cooperative governance is facilitated by the ministry to help improve the situation.

The ministry said it was committed to ensuring local government becomes everybody’s business through the implementation of the LGTAS. –