Local government spiralling downwards, says Salga

‘The trust deficit is expanding and causing problems’

- By Luyolo Mkentane

The SA Local Government Associatio­n (Salga) in Gauteng says local government is on a downward trajectory, dogged by a trust deficit ,and needs to be capacitate­d to deliver on its mandate of basic services to communitie­s.

Salga is the employer body representi­ng SA’s 257 municipali­ties, which are at the coalface of service delivery.

Many of these have been run into the ground due to maladminis­tration, looting and corruption; others are struggling to pay salaries and employment benefits, and deliver basic services.

While parties in the province continue to battle for control of the municipali­ties, service delivery has suffered, resulting in violent protests.

“We must restore confidence in local government,” Salga Gauteng chair Jongizizwe Dlabathi said in his opening address at the associatio­n’s provincial members assembly (PMA) in Tshwane yesterday.

“The trust deficit is expanding and causing a lot of problems for our councillor­s.”

The PMA is a meeting of all municipali­ties in Gauteng which gather to reflect on progress made in the sector with a view to strengthen­ing systems where problems arise.

The gathering brings together senior decision makers in the province’s municipali­ties, including mayors, speakers, municipal managers and chief financial officers.

Dlabathi, an ANC councillor in the City of Ekurhuleni and a possible contender for that metro’s mayoral position, said local government had been faced with the challenge of government­s.

He said the 11 months after the November 2021 municipal elections had been characteri­sed by delays in approving budgets and integrated developmen­t plans.

The City of Ekurhuleni is expected to hold a council meeting today to elect a new mayor after DA councillor Tania Campbell was ousted from the position through a motion of no confidence about two weeks ago.

A council meeting held last week to elect the mayor was postponed after the ANC and EFF could not agree on a mayoral candidate.

The delays punctuated the difficulty of putting together a coalition government.

Campbell’s removal on October 26 came a day after the high court in Johannesbu­rg confirmed DA councillor Mpho Phalatse as Johannesbu­rg mayor, after her unlawful removal on September 30.

Dlabathi said there was a dire need to reposition the sector and restore trust.

“As much as we have registered life-changing developmen­tal gains, it does appear local government is going through a downward trajectory,” he said.

“Local government is performing under extreme pressure, and is faced with the challenges of financial viability, capacity constraint­s, overregula­tion of the sector, chalcoalit­ion lenges of leadership capabiliti­es and lack of adequate support for the sector.”

Gauteng’s 15-million residents have been receiving poor service delivery from municipali­ties in SA’s economic powerhouse, which contribute­s about 40% to GDP.

Dlabathi said a disclaimer – the worst possible audit outcome – and a qualified audit opinion should not be acceptable in Gauteng’s 11 municipali­ties.

 ?? / VELI NHLAPO ?? The City of Ekurhuleni is expected to hold a council meeting today to elect a new mayor.
/ VELI NHLAPO The City of Ekurhuleni is expected to hold a council meeting today to elect a new mayor.

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