‘Radical measures needed to improve cities’ finances’
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Cape Town - The post-Covid-19 realities for cities across the country are dire and will require radical measures to address, according to the 2020 State of Cities Finance Report (SOCF) released by the South African Cities Network (SACN).
Among key issues raised in the report is the inability of cities to raise enough revenue to service their rapidly growing urban populations, as seen in the rise in informal settlements across the country.
According to SACN programme Manager Danga Mughogho this will impact how cities provide the population with access to electricity, water or safe sanitation.
Mughogho said: “The report shows little has changed since previous reports. Municipalities are battling to generate enough revenue to keep their levels of service up, and this has been heavily exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He said: “There is simply too little money to go around. Cities are functioning in an environment of ever-increasing input costs and a sluggish economy, which constrains growth in revenue and leads to an increase in the number of low-income households that require support.”
The report is published once every two years, and takes a close look at nine cities: Cape Town, Johannesburg, eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, Mangaung and Msunduzi.
ANC provincial local government spokesperson Danville Smith said: “Our hope is that the district development model programme initiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa, will assist especially struggling districts and Metro’s to create the environment for economic growth.
“This model ensures that the three spheres of government coordinate and integrate development plans and budgets and that resources and capacity of government, business and communities will be mobilised in pursuit of inclusive growth and to create sustainable jobs,” he said.
Local government expert Paul Kariuki said: “The post Covid-19 recovery of our cities must be inclusive, sustainable and employment-creation focused. Vigilance is a must if cities are to recover from their economic slump.
“Intergovernmental coordination is needed to ensure resources needed to hasten the recovery are secured and bureaucracy lessened to facilitate speedy recovery while closing any loophole in the various procurement and supplies chains.”