Ndou to the res­cue of dys­func­tional mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties

African Times - - Politics - LU­CAS LEDWABA

ONE of the chal­lenges faced by mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties coun­try­wide is the abil­ity to at­tract and re­tain highly skilled ad­min­is­tra­tors cru­cial for their smooth func­tion­ing.

The South African Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Association (SALGA), high­lighted that the po­si­tions in­cluded those of Mu­nic­i­pal Man­agers and Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cers (CFO’s).

By Septem­ber 2017, the Lim­popo Depart­ment of Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (CoGHSTA), needed to re­cruit 11 CFOs and 27 Mu­nic­i­pal Man­agers.

The brunt of ca­pac­ity is­sues is felt when mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are un­able to sub­mit an­nual fi­nan­cial re­ports on the set dead­line of 31 Au­gust yearly, be­cause there is sim­ply no one who can com­pile such re­ports.

Just over 100 days since MEC Jerry Ndou took of­fice, al­ready he has placed mea­sures to move Vhembe, Mopani Districts, Musina, Mo­galak­wena, Water­berg, Thabaz­imbi, Fe­tak­gomo-Tu­batse, Modi­molle from their dys­func­tional mu­nic­i­pal­ity sta­tus to be­ing func­tional.

The MEC has filled man­age­ment va­can­cies in Mo­galak­wena and Thabaz­imbi in a bid to com­bat is­sues such as de­layed service de­liv­ery, rev­enue col­lec­tion and non-pay­ment to cred­i­tors.

How­ever, Ndou is first to ad­mit that some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are more chal­leng­ing to deal with, there­fore there can­not be one panacea for all.

“In Thabaz­imbi there were se­ri­ous prob­lems.

“We ap­pointed ca­pa­ble in­di­vid­u­als, Mu­nic­i­pal Man­ager and Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer who have al­ready man­aged to come up with a turn­around strat­egy and sta­bil­is­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. We are sat­is­fied with progress in Thabaz­imbi,” Ndou said.

The 2012- 2015 Com­par­a­tive over­view of the fill­ing of Senior Man­agers report in­di­cates that many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have been op­er­at­ing on an av­er­age of 70 % oc­cu­pied senior man­age­ment po­si­tions. Given the scare skill MMs and CFOs pos­sess, they quickly move on to other po­si­tions mak­ing it even harder for other re­port­ing struc­tures like the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Re­la­tions Fo­rum to func­tion ef­fec­tively due to con­stant changes in chair­man­ship po­si­tions.

In Mo­galak­wena a team has been tasked by Ndou to bring sta­bil­ity, fill po­si­tions of MM, CFO and oth­ers func­tions.

This will fur­ther im­prove fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and general ad­min­is­tra­tion of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, he says.

“We are quite ex­cited about our in­ter­ven­tions” said Ndou.

Fe­tak­gomo -Tu­batse has fi­nalised the ap­point­ment of a Mu­nic­i­pal Man­ager and it is an­tic­i­pated that the move will this lead to change in the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ef­fec­tive stake­holder en­gage­ments

Of all seven dys­func­tional mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, Modi­molle and Mo­galak­wena are said to be lag­ging be­hind. In Modi­molle is­sues of cor­rup­tion and fail­ure to pay salaries have been re­ported.

Ndou says he is against any dis­claimer find­ings for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, hence en­gage­ments with stake­hold­ers and multi-party run mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are held so that those who are found to be re­spon­si­ble, face pros­e­cu­tion.

The depart­ment is able to deal with spo­radic is­sues that arise in Mopani, while other cases are ca­pa­bly dealt with by senior man­agers, he in­sists.

Mu­nic­i­pal Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee re­vived for bet­ter gov­er­nance

MPACs are es­tab­lished ac­cord­ing to sec­tion 79 of the Mu­nic­i­pal Struc­tures Act.

These struc­tures play an over­sight role to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and guard against abuse of mu­nic­i­pal re­sources.

All 30 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Lim­popo have es­tab­lished MPACs and sub­mit­ted an­nual work plans; how­ever there was lack of im­ple­men­ta­tion; mem­bers did not at­tend meet­ings - ren­der­ing the struc­tures in­ef­fec­tive.

Dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions of his

100 days in of­fice re­cently Ndou ad­dressed Stake­hold­ers in Tho­hoyan­dou re­it­er­at­ing the depart­ment’s com­mit­ment to MPACs. The depart­ment in­tends to or­gan­ise train­ing pro­grams, so that peo­ple un­der­stand what MPACs are.

Cit­i­zens en­cour­aged to do their bit to­wards func­tional mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties

The MEC be­lieves that or­di­nary cit­i­zens have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pay for their rates and taxes, so that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties do not have short falls caused by those who can af­ford mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices but choose not to.

Ndou ad­vices that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties keep up­dated records of in­di­gent fam­i­lies to keep track, how­ever those that can af­ford must pay for ser­vices to en­sure con­tin­u­ous good gov­er­nance. – Muku­rukuru Media

Jerry Ndou, MEC of Lim­popo Depart­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (CoGHSTA). Pic­ture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buz­zSA

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