Motlanthe calls for more speedy service delivery

By Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

East London - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has called for a fresh impetus from municipalities in ensuring the delivery of clean water, decent shelter, proper sanitation and sustainable livelihoods in urban and rural areas.

"SALGA [the South African Local Government Association] must be more determined to address all its binding constrains such as capacity building, so that the task of poverty eradication, employment and empowerment, among others, can begin in earnest," said the Deputy President.

He was speaking at the South African Local Government Association's National Members Assembly in East London on Wednesday. The theme for the event is "Salga's Role in Building a Caring Society".

Mr Motlanthe said it was important to ensure implementation of the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and Local Economic Development Strategies of municipalities is coordinated and that Phase 2 of the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Work Programme is fast-tracked.

"We also have to continue to improve the management of our municipalities, reshaping all the strategies espoused in Project Consolidate to elevate our municipalities to the level of optimal delivery of services."

He said the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Ministries in the Presidency had been created to enhance capacity for implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government programmes.

"This will enable us to stimulate the performance of our government in achieving its set targets for development and growth," he said, adding that these important units were geared to reinforcing the overall strategic planning with the object of addressing the skills and personnel shortage in many municipalities.

It was often the lack of technical expertise that had proven to be an impediment to the effective delivery of services and impinged negatively on development efforts, said Mr Motlanthe.

One of the steps that has been taken to addressing the areas of concern, was the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is profiling the socio-economic status of all the 283 municipalities.

"This will provide a clear picture in terms of capacity, backlogs and important areas that need attention. This will enable government and its social partners to come up with a comprehensive intervention strategy that seeks to address the existing challenges of capacity," he said.

An amount of R2.5 billion was allocated to municipalities for the provision of basic services in the February Budget Speech by former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel.

"Every municipality that gets the slice of this allocation has a responsibility to ensure that we see a positive allocation of this money in order to reach our service developmental goals."

However, he acknowledged that the current economic crisis was affecting the viability of certain programmes and had the potential to affect revenue and tax base of municipalities.

Over 1000 Mayors, Speakers, Councillors, MECs, Cabinet Ministers were expected to attend the South African Local Government Associations National Members Assembly on Wednesday. - BuaNews