The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Thembi Nkadimeng has today replied to questions for Oral Reply in Parliament. The Minister answered questions from members of Parliament on a range of issues pertaining to municipal interventions and support and the upcoming summer initiation season.

Responding to COGTA interventions and support to municipalities as well as progress made in enhancing governance outcomes since the 2021 local government elections, the Minister indicated that since the 2021 local government elections, municipal councils have faced instability due to inappropriate behavior by councillors, including poor attendance, walkouts, physical abuse, and property destruction. To address this, the Code of Conduct for Councillors Regulations was promulgated in June 2023, introducing consequences for breaches. Councillors found in violation could face suspension, rendering them ineligible to stand for election for two years after removal. Another crucial intervention was the enactment of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Act on November 1, 2022.

The Minister indicated that the Department is taking proactive measures to support local municipalities in addressing the challenges posed by migration patterns, as highlighted in the recently conducted Census 2022. Recognizing the increasing migration trends, especially to the Western Cape, Northern Cape, North-West, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga, the Department is working to incorporate these patterns into the allocation and distribution of funds, including the Equitable Share, the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), and the Integrated Urban Development Grant (IUDG).

She also acknowledged the challenges faced by municipalities in accessing disaster funding, leading to delays in implementing timely interventions. In response, the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) has allocated a significant amount of funds for the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), totaling over 1.5 billion, dedicated to the Municipal Disaster Recovery Grant and the Municipal Disaster Response Grant.

The National Treasury has further augmented funds for the NDMC in the 2023/24 financial year through the MTBPS. Notably, the Municipal Disaster Response Grant has been doubled, resulting in a total allocation of R744 million, while an additional R1.2 billion has been earmarked for the Municipal Disaster Recovery Grant. This combined allocation of R1.5 billion aims to support affected organs of state in addressing the repercussions of disasters.

These proposed measures aim to streamline the process of disaster funding, ensuring that financial resources are swiftly and efficiently deployed to support municipalities and communities in times of crises. COGTA remains committed to proactive measures that enhance the resilience of local governments and safeguard the well-being of citizens in the face of natural disasters.

In terms of the upcoming summer customary initiation period, the Minister indicated that to prevent deaths of initiates during the upcoming summer initiation season, the Department is implementing measures outlined in the Customary Initiation Act, 2021 (Act No. 2 of 2021). The Act establishes the National Initiation Oversight Committee (NIOC) and Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committees (PICCs) to monitor and oversee customary initiation practices. She further indicated that collaboration with entities such as PICCs, provincial governments, traditional leadership, and the CRL Rights Commission is crucial. In this regard, the awareness campaigns based on the Customary Initiation Act are conducted to educate communities, and the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders has developed educational materials for all initiation role players, emphasizing their rights, responsibilities, roles, and the rights of initiates.

For the complete parliamentary responses by Minister Nkadimeng, please follow this link: [Johannes to provide link]

Ends –
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Issued by the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)