Struggling municipalities 'shameful'

2012-01-16 07:42

Johannesburg - The Independent Democrats' parliamentary leader Joe Mcgluwa on Sunday called on President Jacob Zuma and the Cabinet to support struggling municipalities to prevent their total collapse.

This comes after weekend media reports indicate that 66 of the country's 278 municipalities are in financial distress and 37 others are headed in that direction, according to the national treasury.

"It is shameful that nearly 40% of the country’s municipalities are facing financial meltdown," Mcgluwa said.

"The ID will pose questions to both the treasury and the department of co-operative governance to determine the identity and detailed status of the municipalities said to be in financial distress and the corrective measures in place in this regard," Mcgluwa said.

Symptoms of poor financial management in municipalities included cadre deployment, crucial posts being left vacant, political interference and poor revenue collection, the Sunday Times reported.

Some municipalities struggled to pay employees and contractors, risking service delivery. This also created an environment conducive to corruption.

A significant number of municipalities underspent on capital items and grants, and there was a trend to cut infrastructure maintenance spending.

By the end of the financial year last June, 20 municipalities reported closing cash positions that exceeded one month's operating expenditure requirements.

Fifty municipalities failed to report closing cash positions, the paper reported.

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-16 07:57

    This would never have happened if municipal employees were qualified to do the job and NOT AN ANC CADRE !!!

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-16 08:18

    There is only one solution: On municipal level all workers including mayors, cops, magistrates, should be employed directly by the people they serve and on a strict performance basis. That way they will be answerable to those people and the people could get rid of bad apples. The people will determine salaries, working conditions etc as well and these will be set according to what the areas people can afford.

      mariuskowie - 2012-01-16 08:36

      I don't agree. Municipalities should be minimal. Services should be contracted to private contractors. Different contractors should be for different areas of the municipality so that no monopolies can exist. The core municipality should have public accountability for all their decisions and performance as part of the municipal structure. Public involvement in municipal affairs should be encouraged, instead of being seen as a threat as is currently the case. Most municipalities can rid of 60% of the current staff. They are there but not working in any case. The 40% that is working are highly demoralized because of the cadre appointments that are incompetent, unskilled, unqualified and plainly there to milk the system. Maybe then South African towns will have better services that betters the lives of all their citizens. Currently we have decaying infrastructure with little or no maintenance and very little or nothing done to accommodate the needs of the growing population. Better municipal infrastructure leads to a better local economy and better financial freedom.

      chanchan - 2012-01-16 09:03

      @Rebel_without_a_cause i couldn't of said it better myself. but unfortunately it will never work that way. the top officials dont care what happens to the country, all they want to do is enrich themselves as much as possible. alot of the people in these positions are friends or family of someone above. and since the majority of the country is too bind and racist they wont vote for anyone but the ANC .... the digging their own graves and have no idea.

      TheWatcher - 2012-01-16 09:06

      both solutions are better than what we have right now so quite frankly I'd accept either as long as they improved matters.

  • Ever - 2012-01-16 08:22

    Shameful indeed. Shameful that 40% of municipalities are run by the inept, the incompetent, the lazy and the downright greedy. Fire the lot of them and start fresh, with those who have the skills and the knowledge to do the job. In other words the criteria for being hired: WHAT you know, not WHO you know. Can't help wondering what party is in charge of these municipalities....

      Albert - 2012-01-16 08:35

      What is the minister of finance doing.?Sitting in his office all day with"roll on 5 a` clock" What we have now will never be able to run this country.Get all the good people into the western cape and we succeed and let the rest become a Nigeria.

  • Malcolm - 2012-01-16 08:33

    I remember when the bigwigs of municipalities (including the mayor) served their cities without salary, as a labour of love for their neighbours. My suggestion is to advertise for those who wish to serve the ratepayers without payment in place of the current “greedy bunch”. Skin colour must be specifically excluded. We will all be astounded at the positive response.

      Sassenach - 2012-01-16 11:14

      Very few people can work without a salary these days....Could you? Those that you are referring to above had day jobs and did municipal work in their spare time. Remember they were competent in their jobs and something that takes a week these days was sorted in a matter of hours.

  • Kala - 2012-01-16 08:34

    There is no accountability in the ANC. There is no reponsibility in the ANC. Most municipalities could not be bothered submitting reports and the Government couldn't be bothered doing anything about it. I suppose all these municipal leaders have now qualified as ambassadors.

  • DieSeL - 2012-01-16 08:37

    simple solution. every municipality will have enough money if the people working there stopped stealing the monies and stopped giving contracts to people who bribe them. rather get the best person for the job to do it and not the highest bidder.

      Zion - 2012-01-16 09:55

      Unfortunately rather getting the best person for the job is an internal function carried out by the very incompetent persons already there.

  • Mike - 2012-01-16 08:39

    Amazing how the municipalities are in "financial distress" but there is still R400million available to hold a party??!!

      Kala - 2012-01-16 09:11

      And they want Table Mountain to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. Surely the antic of the ANC are a greater wonderment.

  • JakesLR - 2012-01-16 08:46

    And once municipalities collaps everything else around it also collapses as well. This is the beginning of the end for once the most successful country in Africa, the rainbow nation. Now we are fast becoming just another Africa statistic if drastic measures are not taken. The government can also not continue to bail out the municipalities with tax payers money all the time, where does it stop? On top of that, prices increases drastically for the tax payer, but yet mayor local municipalities are on the brink off collapsing. I see worrying times lying ahead.

  • Daft - 2012-01-16 08:52

    How can u people be sooo hard on those that have no frikken clue what they are doing ?.....shame on u ...

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-16 08:58

    All these under performing, corrupt and bankrupt municipalities are run by which political party? That's right, the ANC. They have no concept what it means to budget and how to keep to a budget. They have no idea what the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act) means or contains. There is absolutely zero integrity in any of their actions or staff. Even when they are exposed because of fraud or corruption, it gets covered up. Without exposure, it will never be fixed! Now they want to bring in the info bill as well??? The only way this will ever change, is when the ANC is voted out at municipal level!

      Mike - 2012-01-16 09:27

      @Gerhard: It makes you wonder why Blade made the comment of maths MUST be improved during education??!

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-16 09:01

    privatize with regulations on how much companies can charge. Those who don't pay don't get the services unless the govt pays their costs in the form of a subsidy.

  • Piet - 2012-01-16 09:39

    Eventually your incompetence will show!

  • Zion - 2012-01-16 09:50

    I just love the term "meltdown" such strong connotations of what has already happened at some municipalities, especially in the Free State. Due to the interminable road works I was forced to use a detour through Heilbron in lieu of the R34. The road conditions in Die-Bron-Van-die-Heil is so unbelievably bad it is almost a crime against motor cars to just drive there much less walk. The infrastructure has collapsed to the extend that it is obvious that no work has been done by a municipality for along time. The town is in ruins. People sitting in the shade, drinking and expecting hand-outs. Thin scruffy mangy dogs patrolling the streets waiting for a hand-out too. Maybe the SPCA has had its share of melt-down too. To get this pathetic little african town back to its heyday status will cost the taxpayer billions. Kroonstad is on the verge of a melt down. I used the N1 bypass to stay away from the town itself. I visited there a few months ago and got lost. Every single road then was practically undrivable while the main street in the "CBD" was a trash dumping terrain. Rubbish in heaps in front of the shops and the mayor in a caddy. Kroonstad is irreversible due to the astronomical cost just to make it presentable.

  • Setshwaelo - 2012-01-16 09:53

    Very disheartening! I think all officials should occupy their offices based on merits (capabilities and education), not who you know in high places. This challenge will always persist if the rulling party is not wise enough to act immediately because it's very late to postpone the right action. People DO NOT EVEN KNOW what are skills needed for positions they held and we HOPE for miracles...sorrrrrrry

  • djmain1 - 2012-01-16 10:15

    Hand them over to the DA - they know how to run muncipalities. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!

  • JC - 2012-01-16 10:16

    These "poor" municipalities Mayors Luxury vehicles, lavish parties and outrageous "salaries" call for drastic countermeasures. Mayoral positions are supposed to be honorary, not an open mandate to embezzle public funds.

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-16 10:17

    Its no wonder they are in financial distress, they are ANC lead municipalities.

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-16 10:36

    Municipalities, Provinces and most government portfolios should have nothing to do with politics. The only way to improve the average quality of life in S.A. is to depoliticize the management of the country. Politicians and political parties are just after one thing : Power (votes). They will spend all your money hanging on to or expanding their priviledges.

  • Andre - 2012-01-16 11:04

    Yes its true. The councillors struggle. It’s a fact, it is very difficult to find a parking under roof or shade for your Audi Q7, Bmw X5, ML Merc if you get to work @ 10:00 in the morning. Go to the Cape and you will see that they don’t struggle to park the 1300 Toyotas in the open parking.

  • Mart - 2012-01-16 11:25

    'put in the right person for the job that needs to be done' is apparently a foreign language only spoken by racists. 'it's too late she cried'. (don't try and fix the leak after the dam has burst.)

  • Rob - 2012-01-16 12:11

    As it continues to implode we will look back in a couple of years time and tell how good it was today. The ONLY way that the rot will be stopped and then reversed is by creating a professional civil/municipal service that is TOTALLY seperated from political influence, ANC, DA or other. Politics and public service together are impossible, their objectives are too different.

      Zion - 2012-01-16 12:18

      Rob I think yours is the best solution. Municipalities and city councils when isolated from political influence will function more efficiently and staff selection will be more according to ability and qualifications than who voted for whom.

      Rob - 2012-01-16 12:49

      Zion: Thanks for comment. But you surely realise that the ANC is not going to volountarily amputate both of its legs. The one leg ensuring votes and the other feeding rewards, thus being self sustaining. In those communities where this self defeating/sustaining system prevails it will take civil meltdown to bring change. The only hope is that the few communities that have not degenerated into the culture of self enrichment and corruption will be able to create effective barriers to ensure their survival. Corruption is an apt name; just like gangrene, successful cure is unlikely unless you treat drastically, even amputation!!!!

  • christo.cilliers - 2012-01-16 12:53

    Power. Corruption. Lies. And a total lack of accountability...

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-16 12:57

    After 18 years of rule, the ANC has fined tuned corruption and theft from state coffers to an art form. South Africa for all intents and purposes is a bankrupt country running on fuel vapors and hope.

  • Rob - 2012-01-16 12:57

    This is for News 24: A part of this problem is the glorification of the trappings of appointment; big car, travel, expensive accomodation, blue lights, privledges etc! Now, of course you must report abuses and extravagance, but two things may help here: 1. When reporting such extravagance be sure to use a tone and frame that refers to the negative side of such incidents. References to moral standards, greed, abuse etc will set an appropriate tone. 2. Give more exposure to the opposite situations. Seek out examples where good judgement is apparent, leadership examples set etc, and report them positively. Surely you can see that you have the power to influence perceptions by how you frame your reports.

  • zelda.potgieter - 2012-01-16 13:09

    Citizens have to hold government accountable. Citizens have to demand transparency. We have to become active participants on ward level. How?

  • Johnson - 2012-02-02 19:49

    they dont say which Municipalities - Are the ANC controlled - 100% sure they will be

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