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Going back to basics

Written by Albert Pule
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Pravin Gordhan says municipalities across the country should work differently, serve with care and respond to community concerns timeously.

“Complaints are that we don’t take people seriously and often take more time to respond. Sometimes we take three days to respond to something that could take one day. We need to change that and respond to problems timeously,” said Minister Gordhan at a recent Presidential Local Government Summit.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) launched a “Back to Basics” strategy after an assessment of the state of local government covering political stability, governance, service delivery, financial management, institutional management and community satisfaction.

“Going back to basics will ensure that in every municipality, traffic lights work, potholes are filled, water is delivered, refuse is collected, electricity is supplied, and refuse and waste management takes place,” the Minister added.

In response to the challenges facing municipalities, Cogta started a process of setting benchmarks for municipalities.

“This led to the development of the ‘Back to Basics’ strategy. This approach is about responding vigorously to immediate needs, understanding and responding to structural challenges, building resilient local government institutions and collectively shaping intergovernmental planning and delivery.”

He said two-thirds of municipalities were doing fairly well in delivering good services to communities.

“Our motto should be: No service failures,” Minister Gordhan added.

He also urged municipalities to maintain infrastructure properly.

* Read more on the Presidential Local Government Summit.