The ANC has once again said it’s time to return “back to basics” when it comes to local government and a new “district development model”, acknowledging that not enough support is given to municipalities.
The party is holding a series of national executive committee (NEC) meetings this weekend in Ekurhuleni, starting off with a special one on local government.
After long deliberations on Friday, secretary general Ace Magashule told journalists they had engaged on a district development model which would see more organisations serving in those communities.
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa endorsed the model, saying it would be piloted in the OR Tambo District Municipality and then across all 44 districts and eight metros in the country.
The model seeks to have a single integrated plan per district and have roles for government, communities and civil society in those communities.
“We are saying back to basics. Issues of refuse removal, roads in the townships, electricity, issues of water, simple things, we realise we need to agitate our municipalities to do the right thing,” said Magashule.
He admitted many of the country’s municipalities were in distress.
“We agree there are lot of non-viable municipalities. [We are] also discussing those issues. Lots of municipalities are in distress, lots under Section 139 [provincial intervention],” he said.
He added there was a need for the provincial and national government to play their roles properly in offering municipalities support to avoid placing them under Section 139 of the Constitution, which could see the ministry intervening and appointing an administrator to run the municipalities.
He also said the special NEC meeting not only wanted to hold people accountable when they failed to do their jobs, but wanted South Africans to start paying for services.
Magashule said while some were indigents, many could afford to pay and there should be a user-pay system in place.
“We are saying it’s time for people to pay for their services. It’s time to ensure people pay for services. Municipalities must ensure we deliver quality services and those who have and [are] supposed to pay for such services must do so,” he said.
Magashule said the indigent register also needed to be updated.
“Municipalities cannot cry forever for refuse removal and communities can’t cry forever over issues of quality services and incomplete projects, be it by national or by provincial government.”
A special NEC meeting would be held on Sunday, focusing on the economy and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s economic paper of proposed reforms to help reignite the country’s economy.