Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has written to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete with amendments to municipal regulations, allowing a new, shorter time limit for local government officials to get the necessary qualifications to do their jobs.
This is the latest step the African National Congress (ANC) government has taken to the state of improve local government.
The regulations concerned aim to address the sluggish pace at which officials in finance and supply chain management units are attaining qualifications and minimum competency requirements for their positions.
The minimum competency requirement, first introduced in 2007, initially gave municipal officials in finance and supply chain management units eight years to attain the necessary qualifications.
Now, amid various challenges faced by local government, Nene has said officials in municipal financial and supply chain management units will have 18 months to be qualified for their positions if they weren't upon appointment.
Further, the amended regulations said, action must be taken if this was not done.
"A municipality or municipal entity must deal with the failure by an official to attain the required minimum competency levels in the unit standards for each competency area within the time frames set out in accordance with the applicable labour legislation and policies and procedures of the municipality on municipal entity," said the regulation document.
An explanatory memorandum included said the changes would require municipal managers and chief executive officers of municipal entities to monitor and take steps to ensure compliance.
This area of regulation falls under the Municipal Finance Management Act, which ensures local government has the skills and capacity to operate and deliver services efficiently.
The letter and regulations were included in Parliament's circular of announcements, tabling and committee documents released on Wednesday morning.
The changes took effect on Friday August 3, but were draft regulations when Nene penned his letter to Mbete at the end of July.