Where’s the plan for dysfunctional municipalities?

Staff Writer | Jul 18, 2019
Parliament’s Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs says it is worried that ‘it seems there is no urgency’ in the government’s response to the crisis in local government.

Committee chairperson China Dodovu said crises at municipal level in South Africa ‘point to a need for a clear plan and urgency, which unfortunately [the department’s plan for 2019/20] lacks’.

Dodovu’s comments are contained in a statement issued by the Parliamentary Communications Services.

This followed a presentation to the committee by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on its Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Budget allocation for the 2019/2020 financial year.

Dodovu is quoted in the statement as saying: ‘The presentation is not reflective of challenges prevalent within the local government sector and it seems there is no urgency to resolve those challenges. The Auditor-General has just released a report that stressed that only 18 of 257 municipalities received clean audits. The Eskom debt is escalating, there is poor spending of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, and deteriorating financial management systems point to a need for a clear plan and urgency, which unfortunately this presentation lacks.’

Nevertheless, the statement said the committee ‘welcomed the assurance by the Department that within the next month it will brief Parliament on a comprehensive five-year strategic framework that will also succinctly outline interventions aimed at changing the face of local municipalities’.

Dodovu said that in the absence of a ‘clear plan of action’, achieving the targets set out in the APP ‘will be futile’.


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