President Cyril Ramaphosa decries state of municipalities

03 December 2020 - 11:51
By aphiwe deklerk AND Aphiwe Deklerk
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has decried the poor state of local government in SA, saying some municipalities are facing a crisis of credibility with residents.

“Coupled with institutional weaknesses, like corruption and nepotism, many of our municipalities are facing a crisis of credibility and believability by our people,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was addressing the opening of the SA Local Government Association national members assembly.

“We cannot have municipalities that are so dysfunctional that people feel they must resort to violence to be heard. We simply cannot afford for local government to fail because when local government fails, provincial government fails and ultimately the national government fails, it is too important to our people and their lives,” he said.

Ramaphosa flagged poor audit outcomes as one of the measures of failure in local government.

“We must all admit that local government, while it has done a lot of things to benefit our people, it also faces a number of very serious challenges. A measure of the extent of these challenges are the poor municipal audit outcomes,” he said.

“The latest report from the auditor-general points to serious lapses of governance and financial management in our municipalities. Our departed auditor-general Kimi Makwetu, may his soul rest in peace, often reported to me very sadly about the performance of our local government entities.”

He said for the 2018/2019 financial year, less than 20 of the 257 municipalities in the country got clean audits.

“Furthermore, these outcomes appear to be worsening each year rather than improving, which should be the natural procession of everything. Improve and improve.”

He said the country now has a situation where many municipalities are ill-equipped to take on the responsibilities expected from them.

“The picture we have is of vastly uneven performance. Some municipalities have acquitted themselves reasonably or even very well, basic services are now more widely available than before.

“But there are others that cannot adequately perform even their basic functions, let alone carry out their developmental role.”