Delivery still poor — report

2009-10-19 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube said that municipalities in the province generally are failing to comply with basic service delivery and infrastructure development mandates.

Presenting the consolidated annual municipal performance report for the 2007/2008 financial year in the KZN legislature on Thursday, Dube said she was saddened to announce that there are no municipalities performing at the level which indicates a generally acceptable state of compliance.

She said the majority were significantly non-compliant and not able to measure their performances, which are generally much poorer than meets the eye and demand urgent intervention.

“The issue of efficiency and capacity of our local authorities becomes an area of much discussion nowadays as it has become quite clear to the entire nation that the evident dearth of efficiency in our municipalities has had a disabling effect on us as government with respect to delivering services,” said Dube.

A turnaround strategy might just assist in making government work for the people, she said.

Presenting a municipal close-out report to the legislature on the same day, Finance MEC Ina Cronje painted a bleak picture of financial management in municipalities. She outlined the state of finances of 58 of the local and district municipalities of the 61 delegated to the provincial treasury; Msunduzi, eThekwini and Mhlathuze municipalities are monitored by the national treasury.

She called for interventions from provincial and national treasury.

Most of these municipalities, said Cronje, are receiving grants from national treasury and this is attributable to decreasing revenue collections.

The MEC said 17 municipalities still use overdraft facilities, despite warnings from national and provincial treasury to phase out this practice by July 1 last year.

“Data coming from our municipalities indicate that each one of the 10 districts has at least three municipalities with cash flow problems,” said Cronje. There are municipalities that have cash at hand that will carry them at least three months and others just a month, she added.

A key intervention for local economies to break out of the poverty trap is in infrastructure investment, said Cronje. However, the majority of the province’s municipalities do not make use of this intervention. This is mainly due to under­expenditure characterised by poor capital expenditure planning, poorly managed procurement processes and inappropriate political interference in both the capital planning and procurement processes, said Cronje.

These findings come against the backdrop of service delivery protests that have erupted in different parts of the country over service delivery failures, alleged corruption on the part of councillors and officials, and nepotism.

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