Municipalities: govt to step in before collapse

2010-05-20 00:00

THE days of government intervening only when municipalities are on the verge of collapse are numbered, the deputy minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CGTA) ,Yunus Carrim, declared yesterday

Carrim said plans are under way to allow both provincial and national government to step in before municipalities are brought to their knees.

“We shouldn’t intervene when a municipality is on the brink of collapse. We should do so before this happens,” he said.

Carrim was speaking during a media briefing at the city hall in Pietermaritzburg yesterday following a meeting that he and CGTA MEC Nomusa Dube initiated with senior Msunduzi heads about progress in the municipality’s intervention.

Said Carrim: “The proposed new legislation will provide for far more active provincial and national government support and monitoring of municipalities. It will also provide for early warning systems so provincial and national government can intervene earlier in municipalities that are faltering.”

The deputy minister said the proposed legislation will help to empower local government and will enable more effective co-operation between national and provincial government in helping troubled municipalities.

Said Dube: “[Carrim and I] feel strongly that lessons need to be learned from the Msunduzi experience so that the municipality is never again reduced to what it has become … [We] are clear that those responsible for running the municipality down must be acted against. Premier Zweli Mkhize’s call on the affected senior managers to resign is supported.”

Commending the reduction in overtime payments and improved revenue collection, Dube said the municipality still has a way to go in increasing debt collection.

She said it is vital that once Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler and his team leave, they should ensure they have transferred the necessary skills to senior Msunduzi managers for their exit strategy to be followed through effectively.

“While recognising the many challenges that need to be addressed, [Carrim and I] are encouraged by progress so far and are confident that … Msunduzi will recover and … fulfil the enormous potential it has,” she said.

Dube said the support offered to the municipa­lity by individual residents and many organisations is encouraging.

Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr agreed, saying he is “overwhelmed by the amount of goodwill and offers that have come our way”.

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