Two new independent reports have been published by Ratings Afrika to assess how the country’s municipalities manage their money, and how this impacts service delivery in those areas.
The 2018 index found thata most of the municipalities in South Africa are in financial distress, lacking proper budget planning and not exercising adequate fiscal discipline, with expenses exceeding income and resulting in losses.
“Only 23 municipalities from the sample of 100 have reported operating surpluses, with the remaining 77 reporting operating deficits,” Ratings Afrika said.
The weakest provinces are Free State and North West, with average scores of 17 and 24 respectively. The majority of the municipalities in these provinces are in serious financial trouble, the group said.
The Western Cape, with an average of 63, is the highest scoring province and it is also the province that has improved the most over the last five years, from 52 in 2014 to 63 in 2018. A second report, Government Performance Index for 2019, comes from think-tank Good Governance Africa (GGA).
GGA’s index ranks 213 local municipalities from best to worst based on how they deliver across three main indicators: quality of administration, economic development, and service delivery.
In the group’s analysis it looked at whether a municipality has enough skilled personnel to manage the running of the area, and how it delivers on services like providing water, sanitation, education, electricity, housing, waste removal, healthcare and policing. Sol Plaatje Municipality in Kimberley has claimed the fourth highest spot in the Top 20 municipalities in the country, according to Good Governance Africa’s Government Performance Index.
According to Ratings Afrika, the South African municipal sector is currently facing collapse – and correction will require decisive political leadership that looks after the interests of the residents including that of the business community.