Back-to-Basics to prioritise underperforming municipalities

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says government will, through Back-to-Basics, prioritise underperforming municipalities to ensure that quality services are delivered to citizens.

This will also include ensuring that there is customer satisfaction and that there is a positive interface between residents and the municipality.

The Minister said there will be a heightened focus on the Revenue Enhancement Programme aimed at improving the financial viability of the municipalities.

Minister Gigaba said this when he led a briefing of the Governance and Administration Cluster, which was held at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town to unpack the cluster’s programme of action following the State of the Nation Address.

“Seventeen months since its launch, the Back-to-Basics programme is continuing to be implemented across all municipalities and the results are starting to show.

“The second phase of the Back-to-Basics programme will focus on a 10-point plan that focuses on more positive community interaction with municipalities, supporting revenue enhancement programmes and ensuring the appointment of appropriately qualified personnel to senior positions in municipalities,” he said.

The Minister also said the cluster will also work towards ensuring that that there are positive community-municipality experiences by implementing ward improvement plans that address basic services such as cutting grass, working street lights and robots and water leaks.

He said the cluster would take aim at the improvement of the complaints management systems, as well as municipal frontline offices.

Municipalities that have been receiving disclaimers over the past three years will also be prioritised.

“Through this, we intend moving municipalities that have been categorised as ‘at risk’ into the ‘functioning well’ group. By targeting these municipalities, we believe we will break the back of the non-delivery of services,” he said.

The Minister said on revenue collection, there are a number of factors that are constraining the ability of municipalities to collect outstanding monies owed to them.

He said this includes monies owed by provincial and national government departments, businesses and residents, which run into millions of rand.

Revenue lost through system failures was also one of the reasons municipalities were battling to collect revenue, with leaking water pipes and electricity theft.

“Another important element of the plan is the Revenue Enhancement Programme, which aims to improve the finance viability of municipalities.

“We intend addressing these challenges through a number of interventions,” he said.

Number of municipalities to be reduced

The Minister said, meanwhile, that government will work tirelessly to improve the state of local government.

With the local government elections set to take place this year, he said the event will also see the abolition of a number of municipalities that have been deemed to be financially unviable.

“The number of municipalities will be reduced from the current 278 to a more manageable and service delivery-orientated 257.

“We believe that this will result in an improvement in service delivery at some of our most challenged municipalities,” he said.