SALGA’s Member Municipalities Gather to Map a Functional Developmental Local Government Towards 2030 and Beyond
Welcomed by Executive Mayor Wende Marekwa of Frances Baard District Municipality the two-day Provincial Members Assembly of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is currently underway. Member municipalities and stakeholders from government and the private sector gathered to establish ways to resolve some of the stubborn sectoral challenges they have come across. The aim is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of municipalities and channel the sector into a state where it can be declared functional and developmental as well as supportive to the achievement of the 2030 vision. “Although, more is yet to be done in terms of attaining the goals stemming from the 2030 vision. Three sets of factors are important in trying to achieve these goals”, said Councillor Sipho S’thonga, Deputy Chairperson of SALGA.
The deputy chairperson cited the following cues that should be taken from:
- The mandate of municipalities – which is the main reason why municipalities exist and the basis of municipality – community relationships
- The legislative and governance frameworks of local government
- Batho Pele principles and;
- the Back-to-Basics approach to service delivery
Secondly, the status of sectoral collaborations and the purpose of these formations should be reviewed. It is through solid intergovernmental relations, public-private partnerships and the shared purpose of:
- Applying a regional development approach towards local economic development, spatial planning and municipal planning as a means to realise inclusive, economic growth and spatial transformation.
- Enabling revenue enhancement as means to build financial sustainable and viability of municipalities in the province
- Providing sustainable infrastructure and accelerating service delivery through grant funding
- Understanding municipal demarcation processes and appreciating the impact they have on good governance and municipal sustainability
- Improving public safety
Lastly, municipalities and supporting entities need to focus on:
- Effectiveness of ward committees and oversight committees in our municipalities
- Correct expenditure of grants
- Timeous implementation of new legislation
- Continuous improvement in municipal health services and MFMA audit outcomes
“With careful consideration of those three sets of factors; our local government can become functional and developmental. If we succeed in delivering on those aspects, we will certainly make a meaningful contribution towards South Africa realising vision 2030”, concluded S’thonga.
In his keynote address, MEC Bentley Vass of the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs encouraged that reflections on local government be made during this gathering. “We need to take stock of dynamics in the terrain that we operate in and I can say it with confidence to the members that a precursor to any functional municipality is the filling of position by qualified and experienced personnel”, said Vass. Added to his allusion to the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children, Vass emphasized that women should be employed into senior management positions within municipalities. He encouraged fruitful deliberations that will benefit municipalities and enhance service delivery.
The next two days will be filled with robust debates on these burning issues of local government and solutions will be proposed to role players who were urged by both S’thonga and Vass to carry out their responsibilities in support of municipalities. Supporters of the 2018 PMA include, Standard Bank, Sedibeng Water, Maximum Profit Recovery (MaxProf), Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union, and the South African Municipal Workers Association (SAMWU) who all guaranteed their future support towards local government. These solutions will form part of the declaration which will influence, to a great extent, SALGA’s course of action for the 2019/20.