Councils urged: Talk to residents

2012-09-12 00:00

MAKING local government everybody’s business does not mean realising service delivery goals “by hook, crook or tender”, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has said.

Motlanthe’s comments come hot on the heels of the findings of the Auditor-General, Terence Nombembe, that R1,05 billion in tenders was irregularly awarded to municipal employees, councillors and other government officials and their close relatives in the past financial year.

Nombembe also found that 46% of the country’s 283 municipalities awarded tenders to employees, councillors and other state officials, while 65% of councils engaged in unfair or uncompetitive tender processes.

Delivering his closing remarks at the start of a special conference of the South African Local Government Association (Salga) at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand yesterday, Motlanthe appealed to mayors, councillors and municipal officials to communicate regularly with residents to avoid service delivery protests.

Motlanthe said the recent spate of service delivery protests might have little to do with a lack of service delivery and more to do with the “mismatch” of services delivered and a lack of communication between councils and citizens.

• In a statement yesterday, the Presidency said it was disappointed and surprised by “the hysteria by some sections of the media” about President Jacob Zuma’s speech to Salga on Monday. Zuma would not be party to “apartheid denialism”, his spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

Zuma told Salga that the government had done exceptionally well in only 18 years of democracy, and that apartheid was to blame for the backlogs and the social ills that SA had to reverse.

“… The president stands by every word and will repeat what he said at any given time … the president will not be party to the apartheid denialism that is being promoted,” Maharaj said.

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