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Cape Town - The government is on a drive to revitalise the country’s municipalities, many of which have seen increased service delivery protests over the last year.
President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday all municipalities had been evaluated, including their financial management, how they worked within legislative processes as well as their ability to roll out projects and to address capacity constraints.
“We have also looked at how they respond to service delivery protests. There have been many successes in many municipalities. However we face a number of challenges in others,” the president said while delivering his seventh State of the Nation Address.
Poor service delivery is the greatest threat to how the African National Congress performs during the local government elections in 2016. The country has more than 270 municipalities, and during Zuma’s speech he was only able to highlight 11 municipalities which stood out for consistent good performance in audits, expenditure on municipal infrastructure grants and service delivery.
The were Nkangala District Municipality, Cacadu District Municipality, Zuland District Municipality, Umzinyathi District Municipality, Ilembe District Municipality, Knysna Local Municipality, the West Coast District Municipality, Matzikama Local Municipality, Mossel Bay Local Municipality, Breede Valley Local Municipality and Steve Tshwete Local Municipality.
He said the government’s assessment indicated where support was needed.
Action would include providing the Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape with funding to develop infrastructure, over 100 water and sanitation projects over the next year, and supporting Africa’s biggest economic hub, the City of Joburg, to resolve its billing crisis.
At Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in the North West, national government would provide support and work with the Development Bank of Southern Africa to resolve financing for water and sanitation infrastructure.
Work was also underway to eradicate the bucket system throughout the country.
Recent protests in Diepkloof, Soweto, saw women bare their buttocks in protest against the bucket system which the government has been promising to eradicate for years.
The government would also focus on rapid urbanisation over the next five years.
“South Africa is becoming an urban country. By 2011 almost 63% of our population were residing in towns and cities and this trend is expected to continue over the coming decade,” he said.
The state’s integrated urban development framework would be finalised by the end of next month.