Pretoria — Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen says young South Africans must be involved in the planning of all local government programmes.
"As the department responsible for local government, we recognise the need to involve young people in planning and in the programmes of local government.
"Accordingly, we have partnered with all our provincial departments, the South African Local Government Association (Salga), the South African Youth Chamber of Commerce, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and the Afrika Leadership Institute to establish the Local Government Youth Development Forum," he said.
Minister Van Rooyen was delivering his 2017 Budget Vote Speech under the theme, 'Transforming Municipal Spaces for Radical Socio-economic Development', in Parliament.
Measures to improve service delivery
Minister Van Rooyen said the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Service Delivery, announced in last year's Budget Vote Speech, has been playing a coordinating role to unlock the obstacles hampering the provision of basic services at the right quantity and standards.
The main focus of the IMC was to provide technical support to 27 priority districts that collectively account for the highest proportion of the current backlog in access to basic services.
These districts are lagging behind in terms of investment in municipal infrastructure, which is a reflection of the past legacy of bias against rural areas.
Minister Van Rooyen said a Project Management Office (PMO) has been established to implement intergovernmental initiatives to reduce the service delivery backlogs in these 27 districts.
The PMO is located within the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) and reports to the IMC.
"One of the flagship programmes being driven by the PMO is the Regional Management Support Contracts (RMSCs) that was started in the last financial year. This programme involves the contracting of companies with experience in institutional turnaround to support municipalities to improve processes and systems for delivering infrastructure and services.
"The Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpopo, Amathole and OR Tambo District Municipalities in the Eastern Cape are to benefit from the delivery of water and sanitation services through the Regional Support Contracts," said Minister Van Rooyen.
New artisans to join local government ranks
To transform the municipal space, MISA has trained 372 apprentices so they can qualify as artisans in various trades critical for municipal infrastructure delivery and management. This apprenticeship programme is targeted at producing electricians, plumbers, diesel mechanics and bricklayers.
A total of 62 apprentices from this group have since passed their trade tests to qualify as artisans and are now available to join the local government sector.
MISA also provided training to 884 municipal officials through short courses in technical skills to enhance their technical capabilities.
Apprenticeship training continues for 300 learners in the programme, while 160 graduates will be provided with opportunities for workplace experience in selected municipalities.
Technical skills training will also be provided to about 500 officials currently employed in infrastructure and service delivery departments in municipalities.
The 2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocations to the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is R78.4 billion in 2017/18, R85.1 billion in 2018/19 and R91.06 billion in 2019/20, reflecting an average growth of eight percent over the 2017 MTEF period.
The total allocation of R78.4 billion in the 2017/18 financial year is divided as follows:
Department of Cooperative Governance: R78.269 billion;
Transfers and subsidies: R73.916 billion;
Operational costs (including compensation of employees, goods and services and payment of capital assets): R558.229 million;
Special allocations: R3.796 billion, and
Department of Traditional Affairs: R145.006 million (0.18%).