KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka.
KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka.

KZN Cogta MEC outlines successes of local government

By Sibusiso Mboto Time of article published Oct 17, 2021

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FEWER municipalities with Eskom debt, a reduction in the number of municipalities that rely on consultants to compile their annual financial statements, and a decrease in infrastructure backlogs are some of the achievements that have been made in the past five years in the KwaZulu-Natal local government.

The achievements were outlined by KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka on Friday.

He held an engagement with outgoing local government representatives from the province.

With the 2021 local government elections just days away, Hlomuka said it was important to reflect on the work that has been done by municipalities over the past five years.

The gathering was also attended and addressed by KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and national Cogta Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

According to the MEC some of the successes during the five year term which began in 2016 include:

* Only four municipalities experiencing instability from the initial 14 that had problems because there had been no clear winner at the polls.

* Section 106 investigations have been concluded in more than 20 municipalities. There are municipalities that have moved rapidly and implemented the recommendations made in the Section 106 reports, even to the extent of laying criminal charges.

* An improvement in municipal compliance with legislative time frames set for the adoption of the IDPs, budgets, service delivery and budget implementation plans as well as the timeous signing of performance agreements for senior managers and submission of annual financial statements and annual performance reports to the auditor-general.

* Filling of vacant senior management positions quickly to avoid creating a vacuum in their administration resulting in the vacancy rate across the province’s municipalities getting reduced to 12.77% as at September 2021.

* A marked reduction in municipal debt owed to Eskom, leaving only three municipalities with long outstanding debt, namely Newcastle, Ulundi and Mpofana. These municipalities have, however, been supported to facilitate agreements on payment plans with the power utility.

* A reduction in the number of municipalities that rely on consultants to compile their annual financial statements because they have actively developed internal capacity throughout the current term to perform this function internally.

* Greater spending capacity when it comes to municipal grant spending, with only uMkhanyakude district failing to spend 100%.

According to Hlomuka, infrastructure backlogs have marginally decreased across the municipal sphere compared to the pre-democracy era while the department has channelled significant financial investments into small town rehabilitation, and community service centres.

“The new term of local government, which will effectively commence next month once the results of the 2021 local government elections are declared, will be built on solid foundations of the previous successes and KZN Cogta will continue to work closely with the newly elected municipal governments,” said the MEC.

He added the hands-on support from the department had enabled many municipalities to function properly.

THE MERCURY

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