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Johannesburg - The Limpopo government claims it has “drastically” reduced service delivery backlogs in water, sanitation and electricity in the past 10 years.
But the latest municipal performance report for the 2011/12 financial year reveals that only 22.7 percent of residents have access to flushing toilets.
It further shows that only 52.3 percent of people in the province have piped water.
About 87 percent of the population have access to electricity.
The provincial report was published by Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe in the Government Gazette last month.
“In terms of municipal service delivery, the report demonstrates that despite all the challenges related to the development of infrastructure in the province, service delivery backlogs have been drastically reduced, particularly with regard to access to basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation,” said Kgetjepe.
However, Limpopo municipalities dismally failed in the 2011/12 financial year to utilise allocated funds to provide basic services. A total of R614.8 million of municipal infrastructure grants remained unspent, it emerged last October.
Of the 30 municipalities in the province, only nine spent all of their allocated infrastructure funds.
“There is a severe decline on municipal infrastructure grant expenditure across the board in the province, and that has a negative impact on service delivery,” said Kgetjepe.
“There are cases of ageing infrastructure and poor maintenance of infrastructure in most municipalities, and that results in unaccounted losses of water,” Kgetjepe added.
In a general report on audit outcomes of local government released in August, outgoing Auditor-General Terence Nombembe lamented the state of affairs in municipalities.
He indicated that all five Limpopo district municipalities underspent their conditional grants by an average of 18 percent, while 83 percent of 25 local municipalities underspent by an average of 28 percent.
“Municipalities receive conditional grants for the purpose of achieving specifically identified objectives, mostly related to service delivery,” said Nombembe. “However, this money is used to fund operational expenses due to a lack of proper planning and budgeting,” he noted.
In his performance report, Kgetjepe identified seven municipalities that he said required “political and administrative” attention.
Top on the list is the Bela-Bela local municipality, and the national Treasury has stopped transferring funds to this municipality in terms of section 216 of the constitution.
Kgetjepe said this was because Bela-Bela notoriously flouted Treasury regulations.
He said the Ephraim Mogale local municipality in Marble Hall hadn’t been able to fill critical top positions. The municipal manager and chief financial officer positions had been vacant for a year.
“The municipality has interviewed (candidates) for the municipal manager post, and the leadership has failed to make the decision on the appointment,” said Kgetjepe. Modimolle municipality also hasn’t had a permanent municipal manager for 12 months.
Kgetjepe said the suspension of the Blouberg municipal manager, who has since been reinstated, had affected the council’s functionality and capital projects.
For the past 13 years, Sekhukhune, Ba-Phalaborwa and Molemole had received disclaimers or negative audit opinions, said Kgetjepe.