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South Africa is yearning for a clean and corruption-free local government that represents the interests of a developmental state across the three spheres of government, the Acting Chairperson of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr James Mthethwa, told the Ministers of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) recently.

Both Ministers, Mr Des van Rooyen of the Department of Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs; and Mr Gugile Nkwinti of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, presented their 2017/18 Budget Vote debates in the NCOP yesterday.

Speaking during the Budget Vote debate of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Mthethwa said local government is about providing the “unmet diverse needs of the South African population in the context of a true democratic order and a non-racial society”.

Mr Mthethwa told Mr Van Rooyen that the decrease of community work programmes has been affected in a negative manner by phasing out of the Municipal Demarcation Transition Grants which were planned to end in the 2017/18 financial year.

He said local government should be a key driver of the public service. “Local government should be re-positioned as one of the key drivers of the public service. As all state service delivery and development projects get implemented at the local level, it is given that local government is in a better position to effectively participate in the government’s development agenda,” he said.

Mr Van Rooyen told the NCOP Members of Parliament (MPs) that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has been allocated an increase of 1% from R73bn in 2016/17 to R78bn in the 2017/18 financial year.

The Chairperson of Western Cape Local Government, Mr Masizole Mnqasela who spoke in the Budget Vote debate on rural development and land reform, assured the NCOP MPs that the Western Cape Provincial Government is committed to restoring the destroyed infrastructure in the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay because of the fire disaster.

By Sam Khetheng

15 June 2017