News » South Africa
A lack of accountability and poor governance continues to affect the country at a local government level.
As the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery called for the delivery of basic services to families hit by the floods after visiting Umlazi local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, the failure at providing adequate service delivery summed up the state of most municipalities in South Africa: a complete mess.
The committee was established by parliament in April.
It was understood that Umlazi municipality had incurred major destructions and road infrastructure damages estimated to cost over R52 million, resulting in devastation and suffering to a community which did not receive basic services from the municipality.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said nature did not make an appointment on when one had to respond to a natural disaster and no one was always ready, but clearly, SA was worst prepared because it was already failing in the basics.
Mathekga said the problem was that local government was under national government and it was the same party dominating and failing at national level. He said the same problem had repeated itself starkly in local government.
“The ANC-led government municipalities have allowed things to collapse and there were people who weren’t supposed to be there in terms of their incompetence,” he said.
ALSO READ: KZN floods: SA receives aid from Qatar as death toll rises
According to Mathekga, there were many problems present in SA and adding natural disasters found SA in the worst possible condition. “Even disasters do not inspire the [necessary] sense of integrity or purpose to provide good service delivery,” he said.
Mathekga said just like with the pandemic, what was seen during disasters was a quick grabbing of public funds.
However, KZN’s co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said there was a narrative that the national government had given the province R1 billion. Hlomuka said there was not even a cent received from the national government.
Mathekga said the money allocation was simply not flowing properly because people wanted to make sure their checks and balances were stable before the money was even spent.
Political analyst André Duvenhage said there were about 80% to 90% of municipalities in SA facing major problems, with more than 50% of them in severe financial constraints.
“I am not even talking about the pandemic or the flood disasters, it is already a very serious matter and when adding the other disasters, the combination is absolutely severe,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is local government cannot sustain and maintain themselves.”
Sihle Zikalala criticises civil society over non-delivery of KZN flood relief