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Ramaphosa: Many municipalities ill-equipped to take on their responsibilities

During the 2018/2019 report, the Auditor-General found that only 20 of the country’s more than 250 municipalities had achieved clean audits for that period.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday urged municipalities to improve their financial outlook, saying dysfunctional municipalities left communities resorting to violence.

During a virtual keynote address, the president told the South African Local Government Association’s (Salga) national members assembly that some municipalities were ill-equipped to take up their responsibilities to improve the lives of residents.

ALSO READ: AG’s report shows serious problems for municipalities - Ramaphosa

During the 2018/2019 report, the Auditor-General found that only 20 of the country’s more than 250 municipalities had achieved clean audits for that period.

“Furthermore, these outcomes appear to be worsening each year,” Ramaphosa said.

“Many of the challenges facing our municipalities are inherited. Among them are massive backlogs in basic services, deep inequality, weak revenue bases, rising demand for services and the devolution of several new powers and functions to local government.

“In addition to this, we currently have a situation where many municipalities are ill-equipped to take on the responsibilities expected of them,” he added.

Ramaphosa was concerned about the state of municipalities and acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had made the crisis worse.

“Coupled with institutional weaknesses like corruption and nepotism, many of our municipalities are facing a crisis of credibility,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “We cannot allow the widespread governance failures in municipalities to continue. We cannot have municipalities that are so dysfunctional that people feel they must resort to violence to be heard.”

The president said it was important that municipalities pulled up their socks urgently as some were so dysfunctional that people felt the only way to be heard was to resort to violence.

He said he was still hopeful that the situation could be turned around based on what government was able to achieve over a short period of time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: Ramaphosa at Salga: Only 20 of 257 SA's municipalities received clean audits

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