Thirty municipalities have been deemed stable, compared to a previous assessment that showed only 16 municipalities in the country were stable; however, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Thembi Nkadimeng revealed that the number of dysfunctional municipalities had increased.
Reflecting on the 2021 State of Local Government Report in which 64 municipalities were categorised as dysfunctional, the latest 2022 report indicated that it had increased to 66.
The 2021 report painted a varied picture, with 64 municipalities categorised as dysfunctional, 111 at medium risk, 66 at low risk, and 16 deemed stable.
Nkadimeng briefed the media on the most recent assessment for 2022, saying there was reason for optimism.
“While there has been a marginal increase in the number of dysfunctional municipalities to 66, the truly remarkable aspect lies in the positive transformation observed across the other categories,” she said.
The number of medium-risk municipalities had slightly decreased to 107, reflecting efforts towards improvement. Similarly, the count of low-risk municipalities stood at 54, indicating a consolidation of stability in those regions.
“Most notably, a substantial leap of 30 municipalities now proudly sits in the stable category, signifying a leap forward in effective governance and operations.
“We recognise that there are still challenges ahead, and our commitment to addressing them remains firm. This positive trend inspires confidence and underscores the potential for continued growth and development in our local communities,” she said.
Following the report, Nkadimeng said Cogta has introduced a number of substantial legislative and policy reforms, including:
– reviewing the Municipal Structures Act which reinforced the code of conduct for councillors, recognised the vital role of the Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPAC), and introduced the position of the council whip in all municipalities.
– introduced the Municipal Staff Regulations that lay the foundation to professionalise local government by setting essential standards. Additionally, Nkadimeng said there were ongoing efforts to finalise the revised competency assessment.
– Cogta, in collaboration with the National Treasury, introduced Circular 88, aimed at streamlining planning and reporting tools using specific municipal performance indicators.
– Set up the Results Management Office (RMO) to house experts in various fields, including infrastructure, finance, energy, and governance, to provide an additional layer of support, particularly in dysfunctional municipalities.
– Strengthened the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA), which has been designated by the Minister to champion the development of Infrastructure Asset Management Plans, the deployment of more experts and trainee artisans, as well as supporting the implementation of the Community Work Programme.
Some of its forthcoming interventions included introducing the Intergovernmental, Monitoring, Support, and Interventions (IMSI) Bill, which sets the stage for monitoring provinces and municipalities, ensuring their compliance with executive obligations and, in addition, outlines alternative steps for interventions to induce compliance, and grants the power to the national or provincial executive to appoint administrators in cases of intervention.
The Coalitions Bill will make provision for a binding coalition agreement in municipalities where no single party holds a majority of seats.
“We are not oblivious to the fact that challenges faced by the local government sector are multifaceted, disproportionate, and impactful, but not insurmountable, and we will illustrate the work we are doing as Cogta to turn the situation around,” Nkadimeng said.