It's business as usual - Cogta on Zuma's local govt summit

Cape Town - Political upheaval in the ruling party will not affect the service delivery at local governments, the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs said on Wednesday.

"What happens in the ruling party, that matter will be addressed now at Luthuli House. Here with us, our work and the summit will go ahead," Deputy Cogta Minister Obed Bapela said in answer to a News24 question.

"The programme of government is informed by the policies of the ruling party, irrespective of who's deployed where."

Minister Des van Rooyen and Bapela were briefing media about the Presidential Local Government Summit, which President Jacob Zuma would open in Midrand on Thursday. It ends on Friday.

Downgrade

Van Rooyen said ratings agencies' credit reviews of the country would affect some of the country's metros.

"Ratings are important for those institutions trapped in the trend of borrowing money. The bulk of our municipalities are funded nationally, and those, like cities, which have provisions to borrow, if they are rated negatively, that will of course affect their standings in the market.

"Any downgrading will be regrettable."

However, Van Rooyen said municipalities were better positioned - at least in the short-term - as their medium-term budgets had already been approved.

Democratic Alliance MP Kevin Mileham revealed this week that ratings agency Moody's had placed Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Cape Town on review this week, in the wake of Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle last week Thursday.

Speakers at the summit would include Van Rooyen and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.

The theme for the summit this year is "Transforming municipal spaces for radical social and economic development".

Topics to be discussed include spatial injustice and dislocation, building communities resistant to climate change and natural disasters, and advancing radical social and economic transformation at local government level over the next five years.

Van Rooyen said the 2016 local government elections marked the start of a new term of administration for local government, and the summit would be the most important to date.

The back-to-basics programme, which was announced at the 2016 summit, emphasised the need for better service delivery.

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