In 2014 government launched the “Back to Basics” (B2B) programme to improve South Africans' access to clean water, proper sanitation, electricity and safer roads, amongst other things.
Since then municipalities across the country have used the programme to improve people’s lives. One example is the Phokwane Municipality in the Northern Cape.
Before implementing the programme the municipality experienced a number of challenges including receiving seven consecutive disclaimer audit opinions in previous financial years and the prevalence of a culture of non-compliance with supply chain management processes and other regulations.
To turn things around Acting Municipal Manager Bafedile Shadrack focused on improving the B2B pillar of sound financial management.
The municipality took a number of practical steps that led to a change in the way it functioned in the areas of corporate services, finance and supply chain management, human settlements and infrastructure and operations and maintenance.
Among the problems encountered were service delivery and the Budget Implementation Plan.
Since the implementation of the B2B programme, there has been an improvement in the services offered by the municipality and in the way that various stakeholders interact with the municipality.
The community of Phokwane, service providers, contractors, recognised labour unions and municipal employees have gained confidence and trust in the new leadership, both administratively and politically.
In keeping with the B2B pillar of Putting People First there is two-way communication between the office of the Mayor, AMM , councillors and community on a 24/7 basis, which addresses the challenges facing the community.
Senior managers intervene on service delivery matters and regularly provide feedback to complainants about progress made on their issues. The municipality also introduced a cleaning campaign, an initiative that sees the community coming together to clean up parks and business areas.
The B2B programme has changed the way the Phokwane Municipality addressed its challenges, providing it with clear guidelines on how to address them now and in future.