SACP leadership. File picture: Itumeleng English

The SACP has thrown its weight behind the newly-gazetted cost-cutting measures that are to be introduced in municipalities next month.

The Municipal Cost Containment Regulations were published in government gazette last week by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The regulations introduce a ceiling in terms of value of vehicles to be bought by municipalities, set threshold for purchasing air tickets  limitation on international travel and hiring of vehicles.

They also set out principles for appointing consultants, prohibit issuance of credit cards linked to municipal bank accounts to officials and public office-bearers as well as prohibit use of municipal funds for alcohol.

In a statement, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said on Thursday they noted the release of regulations by Mboweni and Dlamini-Zuma.

Mashilo said the SACP was calling on municipalities to prioritise high quality services to communities based on decent work for municipal workers and employment creation to reduce unemployment.

"Strong emphasis must be placed on systematically eliminating irregular, fruitless and wasteful spending, and on dealing decisively with all forms of corruption and violation of due processes and procedures."

He also said his party particularly welcomed the newly released regulatory measures aimed at limiting the use of and reliance on consultants.

The regulations state that each municipality may only appoint consultants of an assessment of the needs and requirements confirmed that the affected municipality or entity does not have the requisite skills or resources in its full-time employ to perform the function.

"Limiting the use of consultants is in line with the imperative of developing organic state capacity towards the realisation of a capable democratic developmental state that South Africa direly needs.

"Municipalities need to put in place systems for professional career pathing and appoint professionals instead of relying on outsourcing their functions and therefore on consultants," Mashilo said.

He said the regulations further strengthen controls on the purchase and rental of vehicles for political office bearers with emphasis on cost effective options and called for utilisation of municipal fleet by both office bearers and officials where it is viable before incurring costs on hiring vehicles.

He said the SACP also particularly welcomed the limitation of flights on flying times of five hours or less to economy tickets for both office bearers and officials.

"This effectively limits domestic flying to economy tickets. Moreover, the regulations limit international travel to meetings or events that are considered critical and bring municipal cost containment with some of the measures that have been in place in the broader public service."

Mashilo added that "it is important to articulate and give practical expression to a unified public service while ensuring that nothing compromises effective delivery of high quality services to our people."

Since the regulations were published, calls have been made by the South African Local Government Association and the DA that the National Treasury extend the cost-containment measures across the board.

Political Bureau