KwaZulu-Natal MEC for cooperative government and traditional affairs Nomusa Dube is cracking the whip at provincial municipalities that fail to perform.
Dube yesterday convened an urgent extraordinary meeting with mayors, speakers and municipal managers of the 61 municipalities of the province. The purpose of the meeting was to devise a turnaround strategy for all municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.
The province has the highest number of municipalities compared with any other province in the country, most of which are grappling with serious administrative challenges and financial problems.
Dube said while they have realised that many backlogs might have been caused by internal factors, they have also recognised that some problems are caused by external factors.
She said unemployment might be one of the factors resulting in the decline of rates' collection, but one other major factor was poor administration and the employment of unqualified people.
"There's one municipality where a clerk had been appointed an accountant and was promoted to the position of municipal manager," Dube said.
"Surely this is a recipe for disaster."
She said inter-political conflicts had also had an effect on service delivery.
"That is why we say each and every municipality must come up with its own strategy.
"It must not be a cut-and-paste scenario but a comprehensive document outlining how the municipality will deal with the backlogs.
"Also, it must indicate what role the community had played. We know that it is not going to be a-one-size fits all scenario, but each municipality must devise its unique strategy because each and every municipality has its own unique problems and challenges," Dube said.
She said two pilot projects had been completed in the Sisonke and Ubuhlebezwe municipalities and lessons learnt from the two would be adopted by the rest of the municipalities.
"We are going to hit the ground running in ensuring that these strategies are upheld and actually implemented," she said.
The municipalities have until the end of April to come up with turn-around strategies.