Mpumalanga falling behind in delivering free basic services

By James Masango MPL, Spokesperson on CoGTA:

According to the Non-financial census of municipalities for the year ending June 2014, that measures selected aspects of service delivery of municipalities (the latest available Stats SA report on these aspects), Mpumalanga government is falling behind in the delivery of free basic services to the poor.

Solid waste management in Mpumalanga is being received by only 17.3% of the population, while in the Democratic Alliance (DA) governed Western Cape, 52.8% of the population receive this. Services like water and electricity is also falling behind in Mpumalanga, as it is received by only 21.4% and 41.3% of the population respectively; while the Western Cape is at 44.9% and 75.7% for such services. Mpumalanga’s sewerage and sanitation service is standing at only 10.5%, way below the Western Cape which is at 69.0%.

The report paints a picture of a province that has great potential, but just lacks the political will to push through innovative policy that can see positive change in the lives of our residents, in particular, the poor and marginalised of our society.

According to the report, Mpumalanga is also one of three provinces to have shown an increase in the number of bucket toilets that are provided and serviced by local municipalities. Between 2013 and 2014, the number has increased by 20%. This is in stark contrast to the DA-run Western Cape, whereby the province managed to eradicate the system by 45.8%, the top performing province.

Clearly the province needs to relook at the policy relating to free basic services. In most cases it is not the policy that is the problem, but the implementation thereof.

Only through political will, will these problems be truly eradicated. The provincial government, needs to be in constant communication with all the local municipalities. This communication will ensure that all data is available when strategic plans are made and budgets are drawn up, so as to guide that implementation of policies.

These plans can only be developed and implemented by a capable state that listens to the plights of the people and employs competent public servants, who are diverse in their knowledge and capacity.

The DA will engage MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Refilwe Mtshweni, to obtain more details on each municipality’s individual performance, and contribution to the province’s performance as a whole.

This engagement will also seek to interrogate the provincial government’s response to this report as well as their action plan to improve on the delivery of services to the people, in particular, the delivery of free basic service to the vulnerable and marginalised in our society.