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Thursday, 16 November 2023 11:24

Cogta determined to turn things around on fixing dysfunctional municipalities.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Thembi Nkadimeng says progress is being made to turn around the more than 60 dysfunctional municipalities.

This includes strengthening their financial capacity to enable them to implement the delivery of basic services to communities.

Nkadimeng was updating the media on Wednesday on the state of local government.

According to the State of Local Government report, 64 municipalities were categorised as dysfunctional, 111 were at medium risk, 66 at low risk, and 16 deemed stable. 

The number of medium-risk municipalities had slightly decreased to 107, reflecting efforts towards improvement. Similarly, the count of low-risk municipalities stood at 54, indicating a consolidation of stability in those regions.

"Most notably, a substantial leap of 30 municipalities now proudly sits in the stable category, signifying a leap forward in effective governance and operations.

"We recognise that there are still challenges ahead, and our commitment to addressing them remains firm. This positive trend inspires confidence and underscores the potential for continued growth and development in our local communities," she said.

Nkadimeng said the state was also pushing for all municipalities to have municipal managers and chief financial officers. 

In addition, the Minister touched on the pillars that make a functional municipality. 

These include putting people first, delivering basic services, good governance, sound financial management, building capable local government institutions and local economic development. 

Shifting her focus to infrastructure, she said 117 out of 144 Water Service Authorities' bulk water and sanitation infrastructure has been assessed. 

"The assessments report with recommendations are being implemented and used to prioritise projects identification and funding through own funding, private sector funding and conditional grants." 

In addition, the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (Misa), deploys built environment professionals to municipalities to provide technical support throughout all infrastructure product life cycles.

To date, Misa has deployed 103 technical professionals, of which 86 of are professionally registered with statutory bodies as engineers and town planners.

The minister further said government is forging ahead with the reinforcement of the code of conduct for councillors in an effort to address challenges, strengthen local government and look into motions of no confidence. 

"In the past two weeks, we've put in the code of conduct for councillors, this was as the result of what happened in the City of Tshwane and in the City of eThekwini where councillors physically attacked one another instead of sitting and debating about disagreements," she said. 

The code of conduct, according to Nkadimeng, zooms into measures that need to be applied jointly with the council if disruptions are the order of the day. 

"We need to link with the thought of that we're trying to micromanage but with the thought of instability. Because, if the meeting is disrupted, it means council can't conclude on when the operations are supposed to be done and it gets to be postponed again and again," she explained, adding that it was not only coalitions that are unstable. 

The Minister has since called for political maturity. 

"We also want to regulate on the motions of no confidence... There are critical areas on how they should come about, which are fraud, corruption and not providing service delivery. But it can't be based on slight provocation, like not greeting and now you're angry with party B."