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MPs debate state of municipalities

Opposition parties have lambasted government for the shocking state of many municipalities.

Opposition parties have lambasted government for the shocking state of many of the country's municipalities.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties lambasted government for the shocking state of many of the country's municipalities.

On Friday, National Council of Provinces (NCOP) members debated the outcomes of Local Government Week.

The council also met with South African Local Government Association (Salga) officials this week to discuss how to help ailing municipalities.

Last week, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe revealed that only five percent of municipalities achieved clean audits in the 2010/2011 financial year.

It also emerged that 17 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities do not have managers, while 19 councils have acting chief financial officers.

Cope MP Swaphi Plaatjie said many people have become cynical and jaded about municipal services.

He raised concerns over some municipalities that seem to put party politics ahead of service delivery.

Plaatjie said the political deployment of municipal managers worked against targets of obtaining clean audits.

The Democratic Alliance's Elza van Lingen said politics should never outweigh ratepayers' rights.

"The principles of good preparation and effective service delivery should not be eroded by cheap politicking."

ANC parliamentarians agreed, before adding it is not only municipalities controlled by the ruling party that are struggling.