Over the next few months, communities across the country will experience better service as municipalities work hard to improve their performance.
Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that his department would intensify the monitoring of municipalities to ensure that they get the support they need to be able to provide proper service delivery.
“Currently we have about 170 municipalities that send us monthly reports on what they are doing in relation to the Back to Basics programme.
“Over the next few months, all of our municipalities will start complying,” said Minister Gordhan.
He was speaking at the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) chaired by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings.
The Back to Basics programme was launched in September last year to revitalise municipalities to ensure that they deliver basic services to South Africans.
“We were able to indicate the progress that we have made, undertaking further analysis of municipalities in South Africa… [to see] where there are crises and how we are dealing with them,” said Minister Gordhan.
He added that municipalities need to ensure that they continue to deliver basic services such as water, sanitation, housing and refuse collection.
“The PCC accepted the way forward and agreed that the Back to Basics mechanism is an important vehicle for the implementation of the National Development Plan.”
The Minister said MECs in the provinces would need to work harder to communicate with communities affected by certain issues and move quickly to resolve and find solutions whenever there are challenges in municipalities.
He added that MECs must develop stronger monitoring capacity within their provinces to put local government on stronger footing. Minister Gordhan said Cogta had submitted recommendations to the Municipal Demarcation Board to review financially unviable municipalities.
He said the board would also delimit municipal areas into wards.
“Over a period of five years, you get an inflow and outflow of people so population numbers change, and they have to take that into account during the delimitation process.”
The NDP, provincial and municipal plans
The Minister said the PCC also received a report from the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) that looks at the plans of provinces and municipalities with regards to the National Development Plan (NDP).
“Municipalities have Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) into which plans of the Back to Basics programme will be integrated, and that will be a vehicle for the implementation of the NDP within municipalities.”
IDPs are five-year plans put together by local government to map out the future and determine the development needs of the municipality.
He said the Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, and his team would look at the plans of all provinces, national departments and provincial departments.
He said Minister Radebe’s review showed that many provinces were beginning to move in the right direction with regards to supporting what government aims to achieve through the NDP and the Medium Term Strategic Framework.
Calls to fire incompetent staff
Minister Gordhan has issued an instruction to municipalities to expel all senior municipal managers who are unqualified and incompetent.
“We are asking provinces to act on them [municipal managers] and make sure that people who occupy these types of positions are dismissed from those posts and the right kind of people are actually appointed.
“Hire the right people, make sure you have the right managers in the right places that have the right technical competence and management capabilities to manage those key areas,” said the Minister.
“Everyone, including the Premiers, have committed themselves to ensure that government becomes responsive, and that the frontline staff in government agencies becomes more citizen friendly and more forthcoming in terms of providing good services to citizens,” he added.