CoGTA MEC Zolile Williams made his intentions clear to ring in some groundbreaking changes to the local government space to become strategic functional development centres in the Eastern Cape Province to attract much needed investments.
Delivering his opening remarks during the first face to face MuniMEC meeting post Covid 19 pandemic, MEC Williams said his focus will be on socio-economic development and planning, legislative compliance, prudent financial management and systems, leadership resilience and management issues and catching up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
MEC Williams said his approach will be to seek a collective view of key stakeholders including the business sector, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Traditional Leaders thus leaving no one behind. That consultation process will culminate into a Local Government Summit with clear plans for execution.
“We need collective wisdom to change the negative face of local government to become an investment destination of choice. This is not far-fetched given the depth of capacity we have as a Province. No individual wisdom will succeed given the huge responsibilities at our disposal,” said MEC Williams.
He decried the “weak service delivery capabilities” in municipalities thus eroding the legitimacy of many municipalities due to the inability to perform their functions resulting to the state of decay. There are sewerage leaks, uncontrolled refuse sites, pot holes that remain unattended to in the municipalities.
The MEC added that some of the challenges include the bloated municipal
organisational structures lead to unaffordable wage bills, absence of consequence management due to politically and administratively, criminal networks, management inefficiencies and poor management continue to destabilise municipalities.
“The state of decay is discouraging investors including taking long to approve business plans from investors.Soyiswa zizinto ezingafanelekanga ukuba zisoyise. The closing of pot holes would seem small but has huge impact on investor confidence as an indication that the municipality is not functional. Beautifying our cities and towns has been put on the back banner. I encourage Mayors to conduct physical inspection of our towns to determine the bad state of our areas. Our employees must do their jobs and action taken against no performers. It cannot be business as usual. Mayors must stop being pleasant in the face of municipal decay,”
said MEC Williams.
He added that there is a great need to professionalise local government to do away with the “shameful and squalid environment” the find themselves in.“Municipal leadership invites unnecessary attention by allowing wrong things to happen.Makhe sithi qoko boSodolophu. (Mayors must jack up their acts and be in control),” he said.
Meanwhile, MEC Williams said Cogta must redefine its mandate to be strategically poised to support municipalities meaningfully. This include defining its role and reasons for its existence and become an “appendage of other departments.”
“We need a department that provide practical training to municipalities on local government imperatives like the execution of bylaws, analysis of budgets. We need a department that is organised better to discharge its mandate profoundly,” said MEC Williams
Issued by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Enquires: Mr Mamnkeli Ngam (Communications) at 071 685 7981 or Mr Pheello Oliphant on 0824326433