Service delivery builds confidence in municipalities

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pretoria - The best mechanism to build confidence between people and the municipalities that serve them is to accelerate service delivery, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Richard Baloyi told the National Assembly while delivering his Budget Vote Speech on Tuesday.

“We stated our understanding that the best mechanism to build confidence between the people and the municipalities is to address the acceleration of service delivery, promoting good governance, enhancing sound financial management, rolling out infrastructure development and effective maintenance, and intensifying the fight against corruption,” he said.

Baloyi said, however, most of the challenges that confronted the local sphere of government were either not the key competencies of the sphere or were influenced by external factors.

“We have to accept that there are some dramatic negative developments in some areas, we should not degenerate into labelling all councillors as rotten apples.

“It is a complex environment where local government structures find themselves, and we should be ready to engage them,” he said.

Baloyi said the analysis of reports from the provinces indicated that a number of provinces were pushing hard towards the achievement of clean audits by 2014.

He cited Ehlanzeni District and Steve Tshwete local municipalities, which have consistently received clean audits for three conservative years between 2009 and 2012.

He said the West Coast as well Swartland municipalities in the Western Cape, and Umtsheni in KwaZulu-Natal also received clean audits for two conservative years i.e.2010/11 and 2011/12.

With regards to unqualified audit outcomes, KwaZulu-Natal - which has a total of 61 municipalities - has managed to retain its performance in the improvement of outcomes, with over 70 percent of its municipalities getting unqualified audits.

Although Gauteng does not have clean audits for 2011/12 financial year, 75 percent (nine out of 12) of its municipalities received unqualified audits.

“We recently convened a meeting with 167 municipalities that have performed below unqualified (audits)… and we have since put them on a list of municipalities to be supported.

“We are putting a team to reflect on a programme to enhance their financial performance qualities and reflect on policy,” Baloyi said.

The Department of Cooperative Governance is allocated an amount of R56.12 billion for this financial year.

Baloyi said this would help to support municipalities and coordinate governance amongst the three spheres of government to attain the objectives of the National Development Plan, which seeks to reduce inequality and eliminate poverty by 2030.

The Department of Traditional Affairs is allocated an amount of R105 million to continue with its agenda of further transforming the institution of traditional rule.

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent is allocated an amount of R252 million to continue providing the necessary technical and professional support to enhance the capacity of municipalities to deliver services.

The Community Workers Programme, meanwhile, has been allocated R1.6 billion.