In a bid to crack the whip on underperforming municipalities and improving service delivery, the ANC’s highest decision-making body, the national executive committee, has endorsed the implementation of a district development model.
The model aims to improve cooperative governance through re-aligning the three spheres of government [national, provincial and local] to ensure joint planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring across all the spheres.
This undertaking was announced on Wednesday by the governing party at a media briefing at Luthuli House following its special national executive committee meeting held over the weekend.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the re-aligning of the three spheres of government would be effective if supported by ANC councillors and local communities. Adding that this model seeks to have a single integrated plan per district, which integrates various roles for government, communities and civil society working together to ensure the resuscitation of communities.
Magashule said the national executive committee had resolved that entrenching a user-pay mentality among communities was essential in addressing the various problems crippling most municipalities.
He said when municipalities run into problems, the government should start by using Section 154 of the Constitution, which encourages citizens to pay for what they use, to address problems and support municipalities instead of subsidising these communities.
Magashule – who was accompanied by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, ANC head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni – said municipalities should settle old debts that they owe in particular to Eskom and water boards.
His counterpart, Godongwana, said a culture of paying debts should be cultivated starting from government, municipalities and communities all paying what they owe.
Without mentioning names, Godongwana said that there was a particular municipality owing billions to Eskom.
“Municipalities owing Eskom and water boards must settle outstanding debts or make arrangements to do so and Eskom and water boards must refund municipalities where it has overcharged them. National and provincial departments that owe municipalities and Eskom for services must also pay their debts,” said Magashule.
Magashule said that relevant authorities in government would ensure that the funds that were paid back would be managed responsibly.
“The relevant authorities in government will ensure that money owing are settled in a manageable way over the coming period,” Magashule said.
Dlamini-Zuma said that the three spheres of government working together would ensure that there is response to the needs of communities.
“All spheres of government will work together to ensure that small businesses improve, we want to ensure that things we see as a potential starts being a reality,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
Dlamini-Zuma reiterated that in order to have better economic growth, citizens should adopt the culture to pay what they owe.
“Let’s have a culture of paying when we are supposed to pay, which is why we are asking national government to pay for all they owe. We are also say that Eskom must pay municipalities.”
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa endorsed the model, and launched a pilot version of the programme in the OR Tambo District municipality, which will be followed by 44 other districts and eight metros in the near future.