News / South Africa / Politics

Citizen Reporter
1 minute read
28 Oct 2021
5:00 am

It’s ‘imperative to change local governance now’

Citizen Reporter

The Institute of Directors South Africa (IoDSA) is urging voters to turn out in their numbers for Monday’s polls.

Election Posters along Pretorius street in Pretoria ahead of the 1 November 2021 municipal elections, 21 October 2021. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The Institute’s CEO Parmi Natesan said many municipalities are either failing or are close to a state of complete collapse.

“Poor service delivery has a direct impact on jobs and sustained growth and it’s only through the ballot box that people can make their dissatisfaction heard and to effect change where necessary,” said Natesan.

“From a governance perspective, the voters are, after all, key stakeholders in these entities and thus need to hold the leadership to account,” she added.

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According to the Auditor General, less than 40 of the country’s 278 municipalities are on sound financial footing.

“Should this trend continue, the risk to investment will continue unabated, which in turn puts increased strain on the national fiscus and South Africa’s sovereign risk,” stressed Natesan.

IoDSA governance specialist Fay Mukaddam said the country is at a development crossroads.

“Failure to get local government moving in the right direction will have negative consequences for years to come,” said Mukaddam.

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If a municipality is unable to effectively offer the most basic of services, there is an immediate negative sentiment created and this has a rapid knock-on effect on the creation of new jobs.

“A case in point was the recent case of dairy company Clover’s decision to relocate its cheese factory from the town of Lichtenburg in the Ditsobotla Municipality due to poor service delivery for a number of years,” said IoDSA.

Over 400 permanent and temporary jobs were lost.

“Those jobs could have been saved had there been more attention focussed on basic issues like garbage disposal
and road maintenance.”