President Cyril Ramaphosa has lamented the deteriorating performance of governance at the municipal level, arguing that it was compromising service delivery for those who needed government services the most.
The president was on Thursday delivering a keynote address at the national members’ assembly (NMA) of the SA Local Government Association (SALGA) which was aimed at discussing the state of local government and celebrating its successes since its establishment in 2000.
He said while the work had changed the lives of many South Africans over years, it had faltered and been plagued by bad governance.
Ramaphosa said “A measure of these challenges is poor municipal audit outcomes. The latest report from the auditor-general points to serious lapses of governance and financial management in our municipalities”.
He called on SALGA to join efforts that were aimed at ensuring that maleficence and misgovernance were rooted out to ensure effective service delivery at municipal level.
The president also said that the Covid-19 pandemic had been a setback for all spheres of government.
He said “The great task before us is not only to regain lost ground and momentum, but to rebuild with added urgency. We are now in the phase of recovery that will be difficult and long and a phase that will also require the utmost dedication from all of us. Local government is the nerve centre of service delivery and socio-economic development”.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said part of the problems that crippled municipalities and weakened their ability and effectiveness was that spheres of government had all been working in a fragmented way over the years.
Dlamini Zuma said “This negatively affected the impact that we make on the ground. We tended to work in silos at the national, provincial and local level and we can say that rural people especially are still very disadvantaged”.
She said the government and other stakeholders, including Salga, were now pinning their hope on service delivery effectiveness on the newly introduced District Development Model (DDM) which is aimed at maximising the impact of service delivery through co-ordination and integration of the work of all spheres of government at local level.
She added that “The DDM will improve the coherence and impact of service delivery in the 44 districts and eight metros. This approach facilitates cohesive planning, budgeting and implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation”.