ONE of the challenges faced by municipalities countrywide is the ability to attract and retain highly skilled administrators crucial for their smooth functioning.
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA), highlighted that the positions included those of Municipal Managers and Chief Financial Officers (CFO’s).
By September 2017, the Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), needed to recruit 11 CFOs and 27 Municipal Managers.
The brunt of capacity issues is felt when municipalities are unable to submit annual financial reports on the set deadline of 31 August yearly, because there is simply no one who can compile such reports.
Just over 100 days since MEC Jerry Ndou took office, already he has placed measures to move Vhembe, Mopani Districts, Musina, Mogalakwena, Waterberg, Thabazimbi, Fetakgomo-Tubatse, Modimolle from their dysfunctional municipality status to being functional.
The MEC has filled management vacancies in Mogalakwena and Thabazimbi in a bid to combat issues such as delayed service delivery, revenue collection and non-payment to creditors.
However, Ndou is first to admit that some municipalities are more challenging to deal with, therefore there cannot be one panacea for all.
“In Thabazimbi there were serious problems.
“We appointed capable individuals, Municipal Manager and Chief Financial Officer who have already managed to come up with a turnaround strategy and stabilising the municipality. We are satisfied with progress in Thabazimbi,” Ndou said.
The 2012- 2015 Comparative overview of the filling of Senior Managers report indicates that many municipalities have been operating on an average of 70 % occupied senior management positions. Given the scare skill MMs and CFOs possess, they quickly move on to other positions making it even harder for other reporting structures like the Intergovernmental Relations Forum to function effectively due to constant changes in chairmanship positions.
In Mogalakwena a team has been tasked by Ndou to bring stability, fill positions of MM, CFO and others functions.
This will further improve financial management and general administration of the municipality, he says.
“We are quite excited about our interventions” said Ndou.
Fetakgomo -Tubatse has finalised the appointment of a Municipal Manager and it is anticipated that the move will this lead to change in the administration.
Effective stakeholder engagements
Of all seven dysfunctional municipalities, Modimolle and Mogalakwena are said to be lagging behind. In Modimolle issues of corruption and failure to pay salaries have been reported.
Ndou says he is against any disclaimer findings for municipalities, hence engagements with stakeholders and multi-party run municipalities are held so that those who are found to be responsible, face prosecution.
The department is able to deal with sporadic issues that arise in Mopani, while other cases are capably dealt with by senior managers, he insists.
Municipal Public Accounts Committee revived for better governance
MPACs are established according to section 79 of the Municipal Structures Act.
These structures play an oversight role to municipalities and guard against abuse of municipal resources.
All 30 municipalities in Limpopo have established MPACs and submitted annual work plans; however there was lack of implementation; members did not attend meetings – rendering the structures ineffective.
During celebrations of his 100 days in office recently Ndou addressed Stakeholders in Thohoyandou reiterating the department’s commitment to MPACs. The department intends to organise training programs, so that people understand what MPACs are.
Citizens encouraged to do their bit towards functional municipalities
The MEC believes that ordinary citizens have a responsibility to pay for their rates and taxes, so that municipalities do not have short falls caused by those who can afford municipal services but choose not to.
Ndou advices that municipalities keep updated records of indigent families to keep track, however those that can afford must pay for services to ensure continuous good governance. – Mukurukuru Media