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Forum to strengthen intergovernmental relations and local government

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Premier Stan Mathabatha convened a Limpopo Premier Intergovernmental Forum at Tzaneen on Friday, aimed at assessing the state of the province’s municipalities’ performance and strengthening intergovernmental relations between the province and local government.
The forum consisted of Mathabatha, MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Goghsta) Makoma Makhurupetje and mayors of the district municipalities.
In a statement released by Provincial Government on Monday, Phuti Seloba, Provincial Government Spokesperson is quoted to have said that the key area focus of the forum was on the capacity of the municipalities to deliver basic services; infrastructure development; financial viability; filling of senior management posts; municipal transformation, local economic development, good governance and public participation.
“The province has experienced service delivery protests at Blouberg, Polokwane, Lepelle-Nkumpi, Greater Tzaneen, Maruleng, Thabazimbi and Thulamela Municipality. Generally the communities staged the protests in demand of among others, basic services such as water, electricity and roads infrastructure. The province emphasised that municipalities should fill senior management posts and implement strict measures to combat corruption.
“There is still a lack of oversight and accountability because there are no consequences for poor performing officials. The government stressed that the delay in filling strategic posts might have a negative impact on acceleration of service delivery. Labour unrest experienced in the province also had a negative impact on the service delivery. The following areas were affected: Blouberg, Aganang, Mogalakwena, Vhembe, Thulamela, Mutale, Greater Tzaneen and Mopani District,” Seloba said.
“In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 Chapter 7(159)(1) states that “the term of a Municipal Council may be no more than five years as determined by national legislation”. The province also noted that Municipal Councils are expected to prepare for 2016 local government elections. It was also noted that the Municipal Demarcation Board is currently busy with the re-determination of municipal boundaries and the final determination and publication is expected to be finalised by July 2015. The affected municipalities are Mutale, Aganang, Maruleng, Fetakgomo, Mookgophong and Modimolle,” Seloba said.
The Forum resolved that the MEC for Coghsta Makoma Makurupetje will develop an intervention plan to resolve the challenges with regard to filling section 56 and 57 vacancies. The intervention plan will be presented to Executive Council before 31 July 2015.
It was further resolved that all government departments and parastatals settle all outstanding debt owed to municipalities before the end of October 2015 (while still dealing with challenges relating to billing). Municipalities will ensure that all land fill sites are licensed. Provincial Treasury and Coghsta are to engage National Treasury to waive the rollover criteria with regard to the appointment of Chief Financial Officers and that should be done before 31 July 2015. All district municipalities are to attend to Provincial JOC in order to highlight issues of violent protest. Municipalities must collaborate with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in preparing for 2016 elections. Municipalities should address the matters raised by the AG in the management letters before submission of the Annual Financial Statements and that should be done before 30 August 2015.Local and District Municipalities should establish Tribunals at District level and the Office of the Premier and Coghsta have to develop a detailed IDP process plan to inform a review of the IDP before 30 August 2015.

Herbert Rachuene
>>herbert@mailbox.co.za