More than 87 municipalities have been identified for urgent support to become more functional and deliver services better‚ cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize says.
“A number of perennial political‚ service delivery‚ financial management and governance challenges‚ continue to remain an impediment to achieving a fully functional and developmental system of local government‚” Mkhize said.
Mkhize was addressing the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities 26th Technical Convention in Pretoria on Monday.
He said the department was currently implementing a Municipal Recovery Programme and had identified 87 municipalities for urgent support.
“We also noted that municipalities that experience service delivery challenges and community protests are characterised by‚ amongst others‚ the lack of capacity to plan‚ deliver‚ operate and maintain infrastructure‚” Mkhize said.
Mkhize said‚ for example‚ the electricity infrastructure was old and needed rehabilitation and maintenance in some municipalities‚ while non-revenue water losses were costing municipalities almost R10-billion in revenue annually.
“Many of our water schemes need refurbishment while water treatment plants were by 2014‚ already being defined as in high and critical risk categories with sewage being discharged into rivers or into homes‚” he said.
Mkhize said as part of the Municipal Recovery Plan‚ more than 50 municipalities had been selected to receive support through the deployment of district support teams by the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent‚ which is the implementing agent of the department.
“In the past financial year we recruited 36 civil engineers‚ 14 electrical engineers and 14 planners to date.
“In August this year we hosted a send-off ceremony for the more than 80 engineers and town planners who have been deployed to distressed municipalities.”
Ernest Mabuza – TimesLIVE