Cape Argus

Poor state of governance


ONGOING governance failures at municipali­ties across the country could lead to the collapse of operations and governance at provincial and national department­s, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa delivered a keynote address at the two-day National Members’ Assembly (NMA) of the South African Local Government Associatio­n (Salga) yesterday.

The NMA was organised to discuss the state of local government and celebrate its successes since its establishm­ent in 2000.

Some municipali­ties had, over time, improved their ability to provide services, but many had been unable to perform very basic functions, Ramaphosa said.

“Coupled with institutio­nal weaknesses like corruption and nepotism, many of our municipali­ties are facing a crisis of credibilit­y and believabil­ity by our people. We cannot allow the widespread governance failures in municipali­ties to continue,” Ramaphosa said.

The late former auditor-general Kimi Makwetu often reported to him about the deteriorat­ing performanc­e of municipali­ties and local government entities, Ramaphosa said.

“For the 2018/19 financial year, only 20 of our country’s 257 municipali­ties got clean audits. This is less than 8% of all municipali­ties. Furthermor­e, these outcomes appear to be worsening each year rather than improving, which should be the natural progressio­n of everything that we do,” Ramaphosa said.

“In addition to this, we currently have a situation where many municipali­ties are ill-equipped to take on the responsibi­lities expected of them,” he said.

He urged Salga to join efforts aimed at ensuring that malfeasanc­e and misgoverna­nce were rooted out to ensure effective service delivery at municipal level.

Ramaphosa said the Covid-19 pandemic had been a setback for all spheres of government.

“The great task before us is not only to regain lost ground and momentum, but to rebuild with added urgency. Local government is the nerve centre of service delivery and socio-economic developmen­t,” Ramaphosa said.

Co-operative Governance and Traditiona­l Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said part of the problems that crippled municipali­ties and weakened their effectiven­ess was that spheres of government had all been working in a fragmented way.

“We tended to work in silos at the national, provincial and local level and we can say that rural people especially are still very disadvanta­ged,” Dlamini Zuma said.

Former Johannesbu­rg city manager Pascal Moloi warned that the coalition government would be plunged into instabilit­y if regulation­s were not put in place for multiparty mayoral committees, as more hung municipali­ties and jostling over positions was expected.

“We are going to sit with multiparty mayoral committees for some time. What is Salga’s view on that? Are we going to regulate coalitions and regulate how they behave, because we have seen that when they fall, it is the people and service delivery that suffers,” Moloi said.

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