By Staff Reporter
In a bid to address issues highlighted by Auditor General pertaining to municipalities’ failure to attain clean audits, the Premier of the Free State, Sefora Ntombela, convened the Premier’s coordinating forum (PCF) on Wednesday, 06 July 2022, at O.R Tambo House, in Bloemfontein to chart the way forward.
In pursuance to this, the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs constituted teams of senior officials from the department, which embarked on visits to ailing municipalities to assist in turning around their state of finances and service delivery.
The teams have been set up in terms of Section 154 of the Constitution, to provide support, assistance and guidance in capacitating municipalities.
During the meeting, Premier called on attendees to commit to ethical, servant leadership and reiterated that all municipalities must commit to bring about the necessary positive change.
The meeting, which was attended by intergovernmental structures, was chaired by Ntombela and attended by Members of the Executive Council (MEC’s), Heads of Department (HODs), Speakers, Mayors, and Municipal Managers. The South African Local Government Association was also represented.
The sitting discussed a wide range of issues affecting municipalities, including audit outcomes, as presented by the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA), and the general performance and financial health of municipalities.
The sitting, characterized by frank and robust discussions, deliberated on the municipal diagnostic report tabled by the department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), as well as presentations tabled by the provincial Treasury, department of Water and Sanitation and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), among others.
Participants contributed to the vigorous discussions, and interacted with the proposed plans which are afoot, to turn around the situation in Free State municipalities. The meeting also considered inputs on proposed mitigation measures, which included:
• Pro-active planning;
• Enhanced revenue collection for asset maintenance;
• Intensive public participation on User Pay principle;
• Appointment, following the necessary legislations and processes, of skilled, competent and qualified staff in municipalities as per areas identified;
• Focus on invested infrastructure, assets, and fleet;
• Partnerships with businesses.
• Key focus on Waste Management.