Service delivery contracts signed
Johannesburg - A number of MECs and mayors from across the country signed service delivery agreements with Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka on Thursday.
The agreements, signed by leaders of all the three spheres of government, were expected to ensure an accountable and efficient local government system.
The government leaders met Shiceka and SA Local Government Association chairperson Amos Masondo in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, for the "historic" signing ceremony.
"It marks the beginning of a new era for local government, the country and I dare say, the world as a whole," he said.
"The new administration under the leadership of Jacob Zuma is indeed writing a new chapter with regards to making and holding public representatives accountable and transparent to the communities they serve," Shiceka said.
The agreements were expected to, among other things, accelerate service delivery and stop municipalities under-spending their budgets, some even returning them to the government untouched.
The Northern Cape and North West were among the culprits.
The agreements were also meant to ensure implementation of a community work programme.
The local government sector had to be "professionalised".
"This includes all of us ensuring that we collectively work towards a situation where office bearers in political parties do not hold senior public servants' posts in local government."
Shiceka said the current situation often led to compromised service delivery, as well as distorted accountability.
The agreements stem from the so-called "Outcome 9" Shiceka signed with President Jacob Zuma in April this year.
"It is the first time that an agreement of this nature is reached, which indicates this is everyone's business, as it will lead to responsible and accountable local government," he said.
Minister in the presidency Collins Chabane said all was on track to implement the initiative.
"As we speak we have almost completed the programme of action and awaiting the signing of delivery agreements."
Chabane said the next phase was to focus on efficiency and capacity to support various departments, which would then lead to monitoring of work.
A new system of governance begin would emerge in the next four to five years, he said.