According to Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Des van Rooyen, the Back-to-Basics (B2B) programme targeting distressed municipalities is beginning to bear fruit. Presenting his department’s budget to parliament, he said the situation with these municipalities was steadily improving.
This is backed by The South African Local Government Association (SALGA), which says that local government success stories are evident in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, which in less than a year turned things around through good governance.
“From being faced with a R400 million budget deficit, the City now sits with almost R2 billion in holdings,” said the association. “Similarly, another municipality with a success story is Makana Local Municipality in Grahamstown. Rhodes University was shut down several times due to water stoppages that the municipality experienced. Through the intervention of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA), the water supply has been reinstated in a sustainable manner.”
SALGA says that the consistent upward trajectory in the delivering of services recorded over the 15 years of democratic local government, should never be overlooked.
“The provision of free basic water services rose from over seven million citizens in 2007 to over 11 million in 2013. Access to basic sanitation services increased from over 62 percent in 2002 to over 79 percent in 2014. Water and sanitation percentages have exceeded the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals. Local government has seen improved fiscal governance through improved audit outcomes, increased capital expenditure in roll out of infrastructure,” said the association.
The number of households increased from 10.8 million to 15.6 million between 2002 and 2014, and SALGA says that the local government sphere has matched this with a concomitant escalation in the delivery of basic services. The provision of water infrastructure rose from 61.3 percent to 90 percent.
The organisation endorsed Minister van Rooyen’s budget speech, adding that it welcomes the announcement by the Minster to develop ward-based service delivery dashboards and implementing Ward Improvement Plans that ensure basic services such as the cutting of grass, ensuring working streetlights and the timeous fixing of water leaks.