Municipalities reluctantly yielding to cost-cutting measures
The body representing the country’s 257 municipalities, the SA Local Government Association (Salga), has ordered councils to implement the cost containment regulations that came into effect this month without delay.
“Implementation of the regulations must be through the cost containment policies, as adopted by councils. In other words municipalities who already have related policies are required to duly amend their policies to be in line with the regulations and table these for adoption by councils for implementation,” reads a circular sent by Salga chief executive Xolile George on June 27 to mayors, speakers and municipal managers.
George urged municipalities that do not have related policies to develop them in line with the regulations and table them for adoption by their councils for implementation.
He said consideration would be given to providing support to municipalities in the development of cost containment policies and to issuing a clarification circular to municipalities to assist with challenges in the interpretation of the regulations.
“This clarification circular would also lay the foundation for audit interpretations pertaining to the cost containment regulations,” said George.
However, Salga was in talks with National Treasury on “procedural and substantive aspects” of the regulations, and was hopeful that its concerns would be considered.
Salga has complained that public comment on the draft regulations had not been sought and that they had not been subjected to parliamentary scrutiny before promulgation.
National Treasury has refuted this claim, stating that 28 written comments were received, including those from Dlamini-Zuma’s department, the association, municipalities and other stakeholders.
Last month, it was reported that Mboweni and Dlamini-Zuma had told municipalities to use public transport, council vehicles or shuttles and stop hiring expensive luxury cars, among other new initiatives, to cut costs.