Godongwana shines light on municipalities

19 Jul 2022

To restore faith in democracy, South Africa needs municipalities to work.

The finance minister, Enoch Godongwana, emphasised this in an address at the Chris Hani District Municipality’s Economic Development and Investment Summit.

The minister added that municipalities must be “sites of economic growth, investment and industrial innovation that is rich in jobs and high on efficiency”.

In order to achieve this, municipalities and provinces must conduct themselves in a way that attracts investments by meeting the basic needs of the communities they serve.

“At a financial level, it means adhering to elevated levels of governance and budgeting standards: spending money efficiently and in the interests of sustainable and inclusive growth. At a provincial level, the focus must be on health, education, roads and agriculture”, he said.

The minister pointed out that municipalities must focus on improving the delivery of bulk infrastructure such as electricity and water, and basic services such as refuse removal.

He stressed that national government has a “role to play in delivering infrastructure, by providing clear and actionable policies, removing unnecessary regulatory hurdles, and making funding available for infrastructure projects”.

Reforms being implemented include providing skills development programmes by amending funding and quality assurance mechanisms; updating and amending existing university, technical and vocational education college programmes to ensure they meet the demand for infrastructure-related skills; targeting an expansion of opportunities for work-based learning, through learnerships, apprenticeships, internships and cadette programmes and updating the Critical Skills List and fine-tuning the visa regime to allow for the import of scarce skills.

The minister confirmed that treasury will continue to facilitate conditional grants and provide financial incentives for infrastructure planning and development to municipalities.

Steps to achieve this include the local government financial management grant; the neighbourhood development partnership grant; the programme and project support grant; and the infrastructure skills-development grant amounting to R6.9 billion over the medium term.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)

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