Cooperative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced extensive and urgent interventions for dysfunctional municipalities.
Nearly a third of the country’s municipalities are dysfunctional while only 7% are classified as well functioning.
The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) is to provide technical assistance to non-functioning municipalities.
Intensive support will also be given to those which continue to fail to turnaround. 27 priority district municipalities and in total 55 municipalities which are regarded as distressed or dysfunctional will be targeted.
“The situation requires the urgent deployment of MISA technical capacity experts, in the form of District Technical Support Teams, who will provide support to municipalities towards improving service delivery. The focus of the teams will be to provide infrastructure planning, delivery, operation and maintenance as well as infrastructure management, financial management as well as governance and administration issues,” says Mkhize.
Greater expertise and skills are needed in these struggling municipalities, mainly in the field of civil engineering.
“The current situation in municipalities indicates that there is limited in house experience for managing infrastructure projects, handling tender documents and meaningfully interacting with contractors. There is also limited scheduled maintenance of infrastructure taking place. These challenges make it difficult for municipalities to spend the funds they obtain from national government to assist them with infrastructure development.”
Provincial visits will be conducted.
“Part of the process we are going through is to continue to refine the status of the municipalities and the nature of the interventions needed in the next few weeks as we move around consulting (on) this. Once all of that has been done we would be able to provide you with a full list, but at the moment it’s not fair to release that list until we’ve gone through the proper consultation with most of them.”
Mkhize says skills development, with the emphasis on youth, will be part of the programme.