Back to basics for municipalities

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iol news pic Gordhan budget speech 2014 GCIS Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan File photo: Siyabulela Duda

Parliament - Government will enforce a back-to-basics approach for the country's 278 municipalities, Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

“We want every municipality in South Africa to ensure that it undertakes core basic functions as efficiently, as effectively, and as religiously as is humanly possible,” Gordhan told reporters prior to his budget vote in Parliament.

“What we mean by this is making sure that robots work, making sure that potholes are filled, water is delivered, refuse is collected, electricity is supplied, refuse and waste management takes place in the right kind of way.”

Systems to allow national and provincial governments to monitor the performance of municipalities and ensure they respond to crises quicker would be put in place.

Gordhan said he would advocate a zero-tolerance approach to waste.

“In other words, focus not on the fancy and the frills, but focus on the basic tasks that local government is actually there to perform within the context of this inter-governmental system.”

Making sure municipal councils meet regularly, that oversight structures are in place, and that transparency and accountability become part of every day operations would form part of the approach.

Gordhan said there would be clear role separation between political office bearers and municipal officials.

“Politicians shouldn't be doing the work of officials and officials should not presume to be politicians within these structures,” he said.

“It's a line that often gets crossed.”


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