North West working to clear municipal debt

Johannesburg - North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo on Friday promised to turn around municipalities in the province.

In his state of the province address, Mahumapelo announced plans for a comprehensive province-wide skills audit across municipalities.

Among the plans to turn the province around was clearing all debts owed to municipalities by the end of the next financial year.

The North West premier's co-ordinating council would be strengthened to ensure better planning alignment between the province and municipalities.

"A provincial infrastructure co-ordinating committee... will be set up to integrate all public sector spend on infrastructure in the province," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

"Implementation of the clean audit targets and auditor general recommendations will be built into performance management contracts of all municipal managers, and other senior management officials."

Mahumapelo said one of the biggest hindrances to local economic development was the debt owed by provincial and national government departments to municipalities.

The MEC for treasury and enterprise development had been mandated to ensure that the provincial government started a process to quantify and verify all debt in order to facilitate settlement of all accounts.

"In order for this intervention to work, systems within government will urgently be improved as part of enhancing turn-around time within which government pays service providers.

"We are going to take a firm stance against all government officials who fail to pay service providers within 30 days of successful delivery of services to government," he said.

Mahumapelo also announced measures to be implemented to hold ward councillors accountable. He urged all ward councillors in the province to hold community meetings at least once a month.

"All ward councillors in the province will be required to hold at least one community meeting monthly in their wards to report about service delivery matters," he said.

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