Permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) are back in their respective provinces this week (16 to 20 September) to kick-start the first biannual Provincial Week of the 6th democratic Parliament.
The delegates, together with their provincial legislature counterparts, will spend the week interacting directly with the public on service delivery issues – which includes the housing backlog, water infrastructure maintenance, waste collection, and others. The theme for this year’s programme is ‘Building sustainable, responsive and people-centred Municipalities.’
They will also meet with key stakeholders like the Premiers, Members of the Executive Councils (MECs), Executive Mayors, Ward Councillors, representatives from the South African Local Government, the Auditor General’s office and Provincial Treasury to assess the state of municipalities across the provinces with a specific focus on:
- Delivery of basic services to communities (electricity, water, and sanitation);
- Financial viability (revenue base, revenue collection rate and systems such as billing systems);
- Local economic development (targeted economic sectors and initiatives); and
- Governance (compliance with legislation,) and spending on Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
Municipalities are one of the priority areas of focus as various performance and audit findings demonstrated serious challenges in respect of service delivery, financial management and accountability. These challenges were flagged by the Auditor General Mr Kimi Makwethu during a preparatory workshop for the Provincial Week.