Improved Functioning of Municipalities

Johan Visser MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Local Government

On Tuesday, 20 February 2013, the Department of Local Government informed the Standing Committee on Local Government Oversight that the process to complete the research into the organisational review and design of one large municipality -Drakenstein, one medium – Bitou, one small – Prins Albert and one district municipality – Wynland, has been concluded.

The aim of the research, which was requested by the above municipalities, was to determine how functioning of municipal structures operate and can be improved. It took one and a half years to complete the research and it was assessed that the organisational structure of municipalities was not fully equipped to improve service delivery. Overstaffing versus understaffing of personnel in departments was also a problem. The conclusion of the research was to provide opportunity for municipalities to restructure themselves according to these findings. It will realign the oversight function of party representatives with the official functions of the municipality by means of the correct portfolio committees. Politicians can be involved in this aligned structure by determining the strategy and by monitoring the work of the officials.

It is important for the Provincial Government to be assured that money allocated to municipalities has been spent purposely. This will ensure that optimal service delivery will be achieved. This achievement should also encourage other municipalities to follow suit in the coming financial year.

The Democratic Alliance is confident that millions of Rands can be saved through the implementation of this process as it will ensure that municipalities operate more effectively. It will also address one of the main problems highlighted by the Auditor General’s report that service delivery is lagging behind, because leadership and management are not on the level it should be.

The Departments of Finance and Local Government played a major role in assisting and guiding the local municipalities, through financing of the project, appointment of service providers, ensuring communication lines are open and to create a conclusive environment for the research to take place.

Through their support the departments fulfilled the DA’s mandate to ensure effective local government.

The DA welcomes the suggested restructuring of municipalities which will ensure that the allocated revenue is used effectively and that people do not lose their employment unnecessarily. The Democratic Alliance in government in the Western Cape is confident that the research information will improve service delivery to all its citizens.

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