By Hon Tp Mthethwa, Ifp Mpl, Kzn Legislature
The 4th Quarter Consolidated Statement of Municipalities Report shows us a picture of how the situation is in KZN Municipalities.
There are good achievements that our municipalities have shown and we need to acknowledge that. But there are also disturbing news about some of our municipalities. Most municipalities in KZN depend on grants, some of which are conditional grants that are ringfenced with specific conditions.
It is pleasing to note that some municipalities were able to write to the National Treasury and were able to get rollovers on monies that were not spent. It is disheartening though to hear that some municipalities failed to use unconditional grants in respect of basic infrastructure.
Communities have waited for far too long for infrastructure delivery from these municipalities for more than 20 years. How can well trained officials fail to help our communities to get what is due to them. The following municipalities were unable to recoup some money from the National Treasury:
Big 5 False Bay Municipality R2.9 million, uMkhanyakude District R10.5 million, Umfolozi Local Municipality R 9.8 million, Edumbe Local Municipality R5.1 million and Nongoma Municipality R9million.
Poor financial management in some of the municipalities has resulted in many staff not being paid their salaries thus making it difficult for those municipalities to hire and retain qualified and competent employees. This has resulted in labour disputes which has led to a workers strike that erupted in uMkhanyakude District few weeks back.
We have noticed that there is a lack of capacity building in most municipalities. Trained and experienced people are not employed as they don’t have membership cards of the ruling party. The IFP urges that officials must be appointed according to their qualifications and experience not about their political loyalty.
Sometimes we receive well detailed reports about progress made in providing services to the people and the state of municipalities but when we go out to the people in those municipalities, we get a different story. People are dissatisfied with the performance of many municipalities. We are of the view that this is a major contributing factor to service delivery protests like in the uMkhanyakude District.
Most municipalities have acting Municipal Managers and CFO’s, which are regarded as vital positions in any municipality. If the ruling party is serious about clean governance all vacant positions which are regarded as critical must be filled.
Many municipalities are placed under administration simply because they do not have the right people in their management. Municipalities must be encouraged to appoint suitably qualified and experienced people to occupy senior positions if they are serious about clean audits and effective service delivery. Handling municipal budgets that run into millions of rand, managing municipal IDPs and administering the corporate affairs of any municipality is serious business that cannot be entrusted to cadres who are appointed as payback. These are responsible positions that require skilled personnel.
The fact that people are protesting about lack of service delivery in so many municipalities in our province proves that the unholy marriage between the ANC and the NFP is to blame. These coalitionrun municipalities have failed to deliver services to the people.
People have now realised that they were better off with the IFP in control of their municipalities and that is why they are coming back home to the IFP. This was clearly demonstrated in the recent byelections where the IFP took wards from the ANC and even took control of municipalities. We encourage all those who were misled into leaving the IFP to come back with your votes for the IFP in the 2016 local government elections.
We call on this House to respond when there are service delivery complains from communities by sending Honourable Members to go to see what are the problems. It is not advisable to send police to confront people who have legitimate complaints. We cannot have a situation where service delivery protests are interrupting the health sector, judicial services and education.
Let us ensure that municipal services are delivered to our people if this is indeed a caring government.
I thank you.