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SALGA Makes Input To The President’s State Of The Nation Address And Calls For Policy Changes



Posted: 14 February 2019

SALGA has called for a fundamental re-think of the overall local government fiscal architecture to ensure that municipality are adequately resourced and those that are under-capacitated can perform their functions.

Delivering an input at the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces debating President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, SALGA Deputy President Cllr. Thembi Nkadimeng, said local government has made massive progress over the last 18 years of its democratic life, including the delivery of provision of basic services to millions of South Africans.

“This is also highlighted in the 2017 Stats SA non-financial census of municipalities, which confirms the number of consumers receiving services from municipalities increased in the provision of sewerage; sanitation; electricity; solid waste management and water,” Cllr. Thembi Nkadimeng said.

At the time of the development of the new democratic system of local government, certain policy assumptions were made as to what the system will focus on and how the system will be resourced and supported. Chief amongst these include the Revenue Raising Assumption that Local government will generate more than 90% plus of recurrent expenditure. The current realities faced by municipalities is that; municipalities are now under extreme cash flow constraints, with over 123 municipalities with less than 80% collection levels and a further 75 municipalities with less than 60% collection levels; and aggregate municipal consumer debts amount to R158.9 billion of which not all are realistically collectable.

Cllr. Thembi Nkadimeng said it was SALGA’s submission that challenges arising from the current fiscal framework be prioritised. “This must include consideration of the unsustainable and increasing debts owed to municipalities. It is our respectful view that bold measures are needed to curb these debts, ensure municipalities collect and better manage their customers and national interventions are initiated to ensure that this growing debt situation does not undermine the solvency of local government,” she said.

Local government has a responsibility to ensure a sense of urgency in building the capacity of our municipalities such that they are better placed to find sustainable ways to meet the needs of their communities and improve the quality of their lives.

SALGA has expressed concern about the slow pace of land reform as this inhibits the ability for municipalities to access land for human settlement to transform spatial form that had been deliberately fragmented for years.

“Reversing the apartheid spatial form has proven to be one of the biggest challenges facing local development today. It is therefore absolutely critical to be deliberate in not just delivering houses, for which we have performed with unparalleled success considering the over four million houses that we have built in just over twenty years.”

“However, it is even more critical that these houses are built in a manner that makes them a social and economic asset to recipients. To complement this we need to provide access for other socio-economic opportunities especially in our urban areas. In this way we shall integrate our cities and towns, and by extension the societies that live in them,” Cllr. Thembi Nkadimeng.

SALGA is entitled to 10 representatives who may participate in the debates and other activities of the NCOP. The theme for this year’s SONA is: “Following up on our commitments: Making Your Future Work Better”.  On Thursday, 14 February, President Ramaphosa will reply to the debate at 14:00.

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