A primary priority is to improve municipal government

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A primary priority is to improve municipal government

Measures to enhance South Africans’ quality of life, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, won’t
be completely successful unless local government’s problems are resolved.
Through his weekly newsletter, the president was making a statement to the country.


Municipalities, according to the President’s letter from Monday, are in charge of providing South
Africans with necessities like electricity, water, and sanitary facilities.


“Local government provides the infrastructure and services that help improve people’s livelihoods.
All spheres of government must therefore work together to ensure that municipalities are able to
fulfil their responsibilities.


“The people of South Africa expect and are entitled to local governments that are there to serve
them and uphold their right to dignity. All spheres of government are committed to play their part to
make this a reality.”


The President observed that the topic of enhancing people’s lives was high on the agenda during a
meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council, a forum to engage with provinces and local
government, on Friday, 2 June.


“The council was presented with proposals on local government reform and improving
intergovernmental coordination in the critical areas of electricity distribution, water and sanitation
services, waste management and roads.


“The council focused on the challenge of municipal underspending. While many municipalities are in
great financial difficulty, they often do not spend the grants they are allocated by national
government.


“In the last year, around 88 municipalities failed to spend at least 10% of their Municipal
Infrastructure Grant, which is supposed to be used for eradicating infrastructure backlogs. Another
challenge is that money that is not allocated for a specific purpose is often misspent,” President
Ramaphosa said.


According to the President, low revenue collection in municipalities stymies the ability of
municipalities to implement projects and programmes and must be addressed urgently.


“It is imperative that municipalities must have credible, sustainable, and well-managed revenue
collection programmes that apply fair and equitable standards to all customers. Citizens should play
their part by paying for services. All businesses and government departments must pay outstanding
debt to municipalities.”


Ramaphosa added the PCC recommended measures to strengthen municipal revenue collection
systems and review the funding model to ensure they have the resources they need.
Regarding the topic of Municipal Audit Outcomes for 2021/22, President Ramaphosa stated that
while clean audits are not the only means to assess a municipality’s success, this needs to change.
Only 38 of the country’s 257 municipalities have received clean audits from the Auditor-General.

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