The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has welcomed the commendable progress in stabilising the Mogalakwena Local Municipality to ensure that it delivers on its constitutional objectives.
The committee on Tuesday received an update from the Limpopo provincial government, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the district municipality to assess progress since the invocation of Section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution in the affairs of Mogalakwena Municipality.
In a statement, the committee welcomed the assurance that there is apparent political stability in the municipality, as council meetings are occurring regularly, exco members are playing their oversight role, council resolutions are being implemented and the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) is functional.
“Also, the committee noted the clear improvement in the municipality’s audit outcomes; the qualified audit opinion after successive adverse audits points to green shoots in the municipality,” said the committee.
“Despite the progress in filling Section 56 positions, as per the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, the committee called for urgency in filling the critical post of Chief Financial Officer and Director: Community Services, particularly in light of the municipality’s financial challenges.
“The committee remains concerned that the municipality is operating on an unfunded budget, despite assurances that plans are in place to ensure a realistic budget to fund the municipality. Also, the committee highlighted its concern with the low revenue collection rate, which at 50% does not provide enough revenue to remedy the municipality’s cash flow challenges.”
Regarding debtors accounts, the committee called on the municipality to work with Provincial Treasury to find ways to force government departments and state-owned entities to pay their municipal accounts.
The committee also encouraged the municipality to interact with residents, especially those not covered by indigent policies, to ensure the resolution of the municipality’s cash flow challenges. The committee believes that an improvement in revenue collection will have a positive impact the municipality’s available resources to deliver much-needed services to residents.
The over-reliance on consultants remains a huge risk factor that the municipality must address.
The committee is disappointed that the municipality has not submitted its consultancy fee reduction plan to the Provincial Treasury, as this plan will assist the municipality to wean itself off these services. The committee urged the municipality to urgently develop and submit the plan to Provincial Treasury. It also suggested that those consultants already in the system transfer their skills to internal staff.
Meanwhile, the committee welcomed the assurance that the municipality had honoured its R38 400 000 debt payment arrangement with Eskom and that the municipality will complete this payment process by the end of December 2022.
The committee said it was encouraged by the multi-sectoral support, as envisioned by Section 154 of the Constitution, given to the municipality to assist it to move from dysfunctional to efficiency, with heightened ability to deliver quality services to the people. This support from the provincial government, SALGA and the district municipality will capacitate the municipality and ensure that all governance and administrative challenges facing the municipality are resolved.
“For its part, the portfolio committee recommitted itself to continuously monitor Mogalakwena’s progress to ensure that the municipality is set on the path to success for the benefit of the people of the area,” reads the statement.
Source: South African Government News Agency