Ineffective billing prevails

2015-11-11 06:00

MUNICIPAL finances continue to remain a challenge as the financial positions some municipalities find themselves in, prevent them from delivering adequate services to their residents.

The state of their finances are mostly due to poor or inadequate revenue collection by municipalities, according to Willie Johnson, the provincial chairperson of the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

Speaking at the Governance Summit in Upington on Wednesday, 28 October, Johnson said more municipalities continued to forfeit substantial amounts of rates and services revenue because of incorrect and incomplete levying of service charges and property rates annually, as well as ineffective collection of outstanding debtors.

He urged municipalities to remain sustainable in delivering effective and efficient services to the community and to ensure that they collected all revenue, curbed wasteful expenditure and ensured that current infrastructure and equipment were well maintained and managed.

Salga, the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) held the summit for governance structures and political and administrative leadership of municipalities with the aim of improving the provincial governance structures and audit outcomes.

The Frances Baard and the ZF Mgcawu District Municipalities were applauded for attaining clean audit outcomes for the financial years 2012-’13 and 2013-’14.

Looking at the functionality and effectiveness of government structures, it would appear as if the municipal public accounts committees are not functioning effectively.

This has been attributed to factors such as the size of the municipality, where smaller municipalities have fewer councillors and distribution of roles.

“Municipal finance is a prevailing challenge in the Northern Cape and ineffective billing systems and revenue collection strategies are the main reasons for this,” Johnson said.

The ZF Mgcawu and Frances Baard District Municipalities shared their techniques for success with their peers.

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