The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (Cogta) Dr Zweli Mkhize, visited the Limpopo Province and met seven distressed municipalities in Polokwane on July 10. This was part of the oversight visit to distressed and dysfunctional municipalities in Limpopo.
Mkhize was joined by deputy Minister Andries Nel, Limpopo Cogta’s MEC Jerry Ndou, Finance MEC Rob Tooley, mayors and councilors.
Mkhize emphasised that the visit was to strengthen the Back to Basics approach in municipalities.
“We want clean municipalities and to ensure that our communities are able to benefit”, said Mkhize.
The following seven distressed municipalities in the province were the focus of the meeting: Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality, Mopani District Municipality Thabazimbi Local Municipality, Musina Local Municipality Mogalakwena Local Municipality Modimolle Mookgopong Local Municiplaity and Vhembe District Municipality.
These municipalities have been experiencing problems related to service delivery, unstable management and poor governance as well as poor financial management over the past few years.
A number of interventions by national and provincial government have in some cases yielded positive results, whereas in some there were less than optimal.
Mkhize said the meeting revealed that some of these municipalities share the same challenges such as the failure to fill senior managers’ positions and unstable management arising from issues related to placement of employees within the institutions.
He also noted that there was a decline in revenue collection by these municipalities, which negatively affected their financial viability and ability to honour their financial obligations for bulk electricity and water.
The municipalities were also to go back to basics and efficiently provide municipal services to be able to attract investment in their areas, which could improve revenue collection. He challenged them to rise to the occasion and establish viable local economic development strategies for economic growth, job creation and poverty eradication.