Fresh drive to fix local government
TWO years after the government launched a strategy punted as the answer to problems faced by local government, a number of municipalities still cannot manage their finances.
In a bid to rectify the situation Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Minister Richard Baloyi is expected to outline new intervention measures to help the 105 municipalities in financial distress.
Baloyi, whose portfolio includes local government, is set to announce the new measures in his budget vote speech in Parliament tomorrow. This will include the appointment of competent senior managers and ensuring that human resource systems are perfected.
Baloyi's spokesman, Tommy Ntsewa, conceded that the original strategy, designed by late minister Sicelo Shiceka and approved by the cabinet in 2009, was too ambitious.
"It was too broad and too involved," Ntsewa said, adding that this led to Baloyi stripping it down when he took office last year and isolating five achievable targets: improving infrastructure, financial management and municipal management, fighting corruption, good governance and service delivery.
"Building government is not like drawing a line.
"Development is uneven, but ultimately this government is confident that the ideal for a better life for all . will be achieved by the deadline."
In 2009 the government admitted there was something fundamentally wrong with the way in which municipalities operated, leading to the adoption of the local government turnaround strategy.
The Shiceka strategy was praised as a way to restore the public's faith in local government structures. But violent protests have continued, with residents demanding better services at local level, including water, power and sanitation.
Last week, Auditor- General Terrence Nombembe said municipalities were getting worse, warning that accountability was not taken seriously.