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Statement by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on the 2020 Local Government Week

On Tuesday, 08 September 2020, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will address the annual Local Government Week which is hosted by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and South African Local Government Association (SALGA). The 2020 theme is about: “Advancing our Collective Efforts to Change the Financial State of Our Municipalities.”

This interactive Local Government Week gives expression to chapter 3 of the Constitution which enjoins all spheres of Government to cooperative government and for sound intergovernmental relations to exist.

Thus, the main objective of Local Government Week is to create a platform to share experiences and best practices, to provide an opportunity for national reflection on issues affecting local government, in order to improve the lives of South Africans through the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) as a vehicle for integrated service delivery.

Given the work of municipalities, the DDM builds on the lessons learned from previous government programmes like Back to Basiscs which went a long way in making our municipalities work building on collective efforts to stabilize municipal finances and administration.

Through the DDM, government is able to mobilize the three spheres of government to plan together, implement jointly and monitor in harmony, the urgent matter of service delivery by well-functioning municipalities.

This Local Government Week takes place under unprecedented conditions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has compounded the dire financial state of our municipalities.

However, this is not the time for despair rather an opportune moment to reshape municipal finances and local economies broadly. To this end, we have activated the DDM as an intergovernmental vehicle for integrating and coordinating the implementation of all of government Covid-19 and GBVF Response Plans in 52 District spaces. This is in line with the objectives of the DDM of fostering a practical intergovernmental relations mechanism to plan, budget and implement jointly in order to provide a coherent government for the people in the 52 District spaces; (solve silo’s, duplication and fragmentation).

Whilst it is important to acknowledge that local government has performed, and has taken the lead to ensure that pertinent coalface issues are addressed particularly amid the COVID-19 milieu, it is equally important during Local Government Week to openly confront challenges facing this sphere of government. Various challenges threaten the sustainability of local government, chief amongst those is the financial viability of municipalities. This lockdown period has made things worse as it diminished revenue collections due to the suspension of economic activities.

The declining revenue base for municipalities has exacerbated the inequality, expansion or refurbishment of infrastructure and the rolling out of basic services. These challenges have also exposed poor debt management practices, lack of appropriate finance skills and the poor economic climate that obtains in a number of our municipalities.

It is on this premise, that we are embarking on a campaign to reignite the culture of responsible citizenry towards the payment of municipal services, and accountable leadership on the provision of basic services. We urge everyone to join the movement to re-ignite a culture of the responsible citizenry by paying for municipal services and holding municipalities accountable for the provision of services.

All households, with the exception of the indigent, should pay the full costs of services consumed and municipalities should develop a system of targeted subsidies to ensure that poor households have access to at least a minimum level of basic services.

Through the DDM, we aim to improve the delivery of services and strengthen social compacts, in aid of community-wide development. In light of this, we implore everyone to play your part to transform district spaces for inclusive socio-economic growth and development, by being a responsible citizen that pays for municipal rates and services.

Minister Dlamini Zuma will deliver a virtual keynote address as follows:
▪ Date: 08 September 2020 (DAY 1)
 Time: 10h00 – 11h00

You can follow Local Government Week proceedings via CoGTA digital platforms.

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