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By Citizen Reporter


Zweli Mkhize says his dept will urgently step in to help dysfunctional municipalities

Cogta provides technical support in service delivery areas such as roads, stormwater drainage, energy, water and sanitation, and solid waste

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Dr Zweli Mkhize today briefed the media in Cape Town on the interventions to be undertaken to support distressed and dysfunctional municipalities that are unable to deliver basic services.

Mkhize said his ministry, through its Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (Misa), had decided to urgently intervene in these municipalities in relation to the development and maintenance of infrastructure.

He said there are municipalities that are struggling to use funds allocated to them to build and maintain infrastructure while others struggle with financial management, good governance and administration.

Misa provides technical support in service delivery areas such as roads, stormwater drainage, energy, water and sanitation, solid waste, revenue enhancement as well as the construction of roads.

“However, the continued failure to effect turnarounds in several municipalities requires further more intensive, dedicated and radical interventions if we are to get the municipalities to manage the MIG funds and implement the infrastructure projects that will improve the lives of the people,” he said.

The minister said his department had found the following:

  • Seven percent of the country’s municipalities are classified as well-functioning;
  • About 31% of the municipalities are reasonably functional;
  • Thirty-one percent are almost dysfunctional;
  • The remaining 31% is dysfunctional.

“The ability of municipalities to plan, deliver, operate and maintain infrastructure is dependent to a greater extent, on the capacity of officials to execute their responsibilities. The technical nature of the responsibilities demands requisite levels of expertise and skills, mainly in the field of civil engineering,” Mkhize said.

He said within municipalities there is currently limited experience in infrastructure project management, handling tender documents and effectively communicating with contractors.

“There is also limited scheduled maintenance of infrastructure taking place,” Mkhize said.

He said a total of R3.4 billion in Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) transfers was stopped and reallocated from underspending municipalities to better spending ones.

“This is not ideal as it has an inadvertent consequence of penalising municipalities with a lower capacity and hence punishing the poorer communities,” the Cogta minister said.

He added that since the 2012/13 financial year to date, municipalities failed to spend a total of R8.2 billion and between 2013/14 and in the current financial year, 2017/18, a total of 55 municipalities had their annual MIG allocations stopped at least twice.

To assist the distressed and dysfunctional municipalities, Misa technical capacity experts will be urgently deployed in the form of District Technical Support Teams, Mkhize said.

These teams will provide support through skills such as civil engineering, construction and project management, financial, accounting expertise, town and regional planning as well as expertise in governance and administration, he added.

“The teams will support the 27 priority district municipalities and in total, the 55 municipalities which are regarded as distressed or dysfunctional,” Mkhize said.

He added that investment in skills development within municipalities will still be a priority with emphasis placed on youth development and empowerment.

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Dr Zweli Mkhize