Maimane addressed the media in Cape Town on Monday, marking two years since the DA took over the running of some municipalities from the ANC in 2016, mostly through coalitions with smaller parties.
The leadership of the DA-led Drakenstein, Kouga, Modimolle-Mookgophong and Thabazimbi were all present. Maimane said the councils provided a representative sample of the difference the DA was making in the government.
“The DA does not take the trust placed in us by the residents of these five municipalities for granted. We highly value every opportunity we are given to demonstrate the DA difference in action.
“Local government responsibility is the closest link between a government and its people, and after years of financial mismanagement, corruption and neglect by the ANC, the DA got hard to work repairing this broken bond.
“Previous ANC administrations left behind a sea of debt,” Maimane said. Asked about Cape Town, Maimane said he could not invite everyone.
“We dealt with the metros and now we are dealing with the other municipalities,” he said.
He also said the challenges in some DA councils had not deterred the leadership from delivering services.
“We are putting the people first. That is all that matters,” he said.
Drakenstein mayor Conrad Poole said out of 257 municipalities in South Africa, Drakenstein manages the ninth-biggest budget and had been recognised as the 17th-best municipality in the country.
Kouga mayor Horatio Hendricks said the municipality had strengthened its financial position and now had sufficient revenue to increase grant funding, boost capital delivery and drive a pro-poor budget.
“By cutting corruption and waste, and restoring public faith in the local council, this municipality has almost tripled its cash on hand from R38 million to R94m in the past two years,” he said.
Modimolle-Mookgophong Municipality mayor Marlene van Staden said a formal forensic investigation into the municipality’s finances had begun.
“Modimolle-Mookgophong inherited more than R300m in debt and no cash flow from the previous ANC government,” she said.
Thabazimbi speaker Bertie Joubert said the new DA leadership got to work immediately and for the first time in seven years, billings and valuations were rectified, and this had gone a long way in helping stabilise the municipality’s finances.@JasonFelix