Pretoria — Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen says his Department is making strides to tackle and root out corruption in the local government sphere.
"In an effort to strengthen and improve local government, we are making strides to tackle and root out corruption within the local government sector. In the new financial year, we will continue to strengthen anti-corruption measures in local government and intensify our anti-corruption campaigns to improve ethical conduct while working with key partners.
"Flowing from the 3rd Presidential Local Government Summit, we have recommitted ourselves to do more as the sector to improve the services we provide to communities," he said.
The Minister was outlining the highlights of his Budget Vote speech to members of the media in Cape Town on Thursday.
He said in the past year, they introduced amendments to the Municipal Structures Act to improve the administration and management of local government elections. The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the supervision of provinces and municipalities.
"Our plans show that the department is also on track to achieve the goals we set ourselves in the National Development Plan, the Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019 and our departmental strategic plans," he said.
Minister van Rooyen, who will deliver his Budget Vote speech in the National Assembly later this afternoon, said since the 2016 local elections, they have worked with the South African Local Government Association (Salga), to ensure the implementation of the Integrated Councillor Induction Programme.
Back to Basics
The Minister said Back to Basics continue to guide their efforts to build effective and efficient local government. The programme leads the implementation of a coordinated and integrated approach to delivering quality services to the people. To this effect, after the successful implementation of the first phase, President Jacob Zuma launched the second phase of the Back to Basics.
Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF)
The Minister said implementation of the IUDF adopted last year is currently ongoing. "This national urban policy, signifies that South Africa is well-positioned to respond to national urbanisation challenges and to be a thought leader in international dialogues on urbanisation and urban policy development."
The IUDF's re-imagined urban landscape seeks to progressively eradicate the apartheid spatial legacy and offers South African towns and cities a new reality. The Minister said proper implementation of IUDF will surely assist in reaching the objective of radical transformation of municipal spaces for development.
Community Work Programme (CWP)
Minister van Rooyen said the CWP continues to provide employment opportunities for the poorest of the poor and it is now present in 229 municipalities, which provided 243 162 work opportunities, as at 31 March 2017.
With regards to the minimum competency requirements, the department strengthened measures to monitor the appointments of senior managers to enforce compliance with minimum prescribed competencies.
The department intends promulgating the regulations applicable to all staff members below management echelon, during the 2017/18 financial year. He said the architecture of local government is important for service delivery hence a discussion document is under construction to address the challenges within the two-tier system at the local government.
Municipal revenue and Eskom debt
With regards to the Municipal revenue and Eskom debt, the Minister said lots of work was done in the last months to deal with the excessive growth of the debt owed to municipalities to the tune of R117 billion as at 31 December 2016.
According to the Minister, national departments owe municipalities R2.3 billion, while provincial departments are owing municipalities R3.1 billion. The work of the National Task Team on Government Debt is making progress in resolving the historical debt and government departments have made commitments to adhere to their current debt.