President Ramaphosa promises to clean up struggling municipalities

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses first day of two-day Jobs Summit.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses first day of two-day Jobs Summit.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to clean up municipalities that have been put under administration.

"One of the tragedies of the moment that we are in now is that government structures and their capabilities have weakened over time, particularly at local government level," said Rampahosa on Friday afternoon at the Presidential Jobs Summit in Midrand, Johannesburg, the last day of the summit.

He said  the auditor-general's report had revealed that a "number of local governments are becoming dysfunctional".

Ramaphosa said his administration had identified the poor performance of certain municipalities as the cause of the problem and would ensure that they work tirelessly to reverse that.

"We now know where the problem is and we now know what to do. We are taking steps to address this issue in a comprehensive and thorough manner," he said.

Earlier this year, the auditor-general audited 257 municipalities and  21 of the 60 to 70 municipal entities that exist. Only 33 received clean audits, with none of those being in the North West, Free State and Limpopo  provinces.

Gauteng and Northern Cape managed only one clean audit each, while there were two in the Eastern Cape, six in KwaZulu-Natal and 21 in the Western Cape.

"It has been a matter of deep shame for us to have a province being finally put under administration. It is a damper on our ability to deliver real good governance in our country," Ramaphosa added.

His remarks come after the North West province, led by the embattled Supra Mahumapelo, was put under administration following a diagnostic report on the state of municipalities.

Earlier this month, business executive responsible for the North West from the auditor-general's office, Success Maroto, said irregular expenditure in North West municipalities has increased from R3.19bn to R4.29bn in the 2016-17 financial year.

In the previous financial year, irregular expenditure by municipalities across the country increased over 50% to R16bn. This year, however, it increased 75% to R28.37bn.

Ramaphosa also announced that he would meet with business and labour every two to three months in a presidential committee to monitor the implementation of plans and the unemployment crisis.

On Thursday, the president also added that the financial sector has committed R100bn over the next five years to support black businesses, as the country battles to boost growth and reduce unemployment.

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