The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is working to turn local government into one that truly responds to the needs of South Africans.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen says government has made strides in ensuring that local government responds to the needs of the people.
The Minister said this in the department’s annual report for the year ended March 2016.
“During the past 15 years we have sought to turn local government into one that truly responds to the needs of our people.
“While the apartheid legacy continues to pose a challenge, we believe that we have turned the corner,” the Minister said.
He said the recent reports by Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, amongst others, was testimony to the progress that the local government sector has made.
He said the Back to Basics strategy, which was introduced by government to improve service delivery, has become a cornerstone of the department’s interventions.
“The development and implementation of the Back to Basics 10-point plan has arisen out of our efforts over the last year and will guide us as we move forward,” he said.
Responding to challenges brought about by drought, the Minister said government has implemented several interventions to mitigate its effects.
“Through the National Disaster Management Centre, we have weathered the drought by ensuring a co-ordinated effort involving all role players,” he said.
Since the drought hit the country a number of departments have been working together to offer relief to affected citizens.
This includes eight million litres of water being delivered to approximately 49 200 people in North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and the Eastern Cape.
Motorised water tankers were deployed to affected areas, over 7 000 boreholes were drilled and water restrictions were recently implemented in some provinces.
Meanwhile government is responding to demarcation challenges. Minister Van Rooyen said the Municipal Demarcation Board has played a vital role in the determination and redetermination of the boundaries for various municipalities to improve their financial viability.
“This has resulted in a reduction of the number of municipalities from 278 to 257.”