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In The News South Africa

Outa says municipal repairs lack sustainable solutions

JOHANNESBURG, August 7 – The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Tuesday it welcomed cooperative governance minister Zweli Mkhize’s relief measures for dysfunctional municipalities, but was concerned the plans did not go to the core of the problems.

Mkhize on Monday deployed 81 engineers and town planners to distressed and dysfunctional municipalities to help them deal with governance and administration, financial management and service delivery issues.

Dr Makhosi Khoza, executive director on local governance matters at Outa, said local communities had been calling for this intervention for a long time, but their cries fell on deaf ears.

“There is no doubt that communities are yearning for qualified engineers and town planners to address infrastructural issues relating to water, sewage, electrical sub-stations, maintenance workshops and similar matters,” Khoza, a former member of parliament for the ruling ANC, said in a statement.

“However, these are the symptoms of deeper systemic issues within local government and political meddling that have failed the communities in these dysfunctional municipalities. We liken these actions to putting a plaster across a gaping wound.”

Mkhize said only seven percent of the country’s municipalities were classified as well-functioning, with 31 percent being reasonably functional, 31 percent almost dysfunctional while the remaining 31 percent were dysfunctional.

Khoza said the collapse of these municipalities was due to a number of issues including lack of leadership, poor appointments and oversight and lack of accountability.

She said her organisation was also extremely concerned by Mkhize’s comment about a blacklist of officials who were instrumental in the maladministration of municipalities, and called on Mkhize to make the list public.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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