THE number of municipalities in the country are set to decrease from 278 to 257, says the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
According to the department, the new municipalities will come into being on the date of the elections.
Last year, the Minister requested the Municipal Demarcation Board to investigate the re-demarcation of 34 non-viable and dysfunctional municipalities.
This was in line with the Back to Basics programme, which is aimed at strengthening the local sphere of government, improving service delivery and promoting economic growth and development at the local level.
On Tuesday, the department, together with the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) briefed the Select and Portfolio Committees on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in Parliament.
“The parliamentary committees were briefed on steps being taken by national and provincial government to ensure that re-demarcated municipalities that are merging to optimize their viability are ready to continue serving their communities after elections,” the department said.
According to the department, a Municipal Demarcation Transition Committee is working to ensure that matters relating to bylaws and policies; human resources; finance (including the rationalisation of billing and IT systems, asset registers); the adoption of a revised Integrated Development Plan; as well as the naming of new municipalities and the location of council chambers proceed smooth in accordance with the law.
SALGA briefed the committees on steps being taken to ensure that newly elected councillors are inducted and trained in matters relating to the five pillars of the Back to Basics approach, namely:
•Putting people first,
•delivery of quality basic services,
•ensuring good governance,
•ensuring sound financial management, and
•building strong institutions.