Local govt are at the coal face of service delivery, but are they working?

| Is local government doing their jobs and what role does national government play in relation to this? To answer this, Africa Melane speaks to Dr Meron Okbandrias, senior lecturer at UWC's School of Government.

Consultants are raking in a lot of money doing basic financial accounting that municipal managers are already being paid for.

On Wednesday at the National Assembly’s debate on Youth Day, the EFF, UDM and DA all laid blame at the feet of the ANC for issues like the unemployment crisis, substance abuse and gender-based violence.

While national government should be doing more, local government are at the coal face for community issues and service delivery.

So that raises the question: is local government doing their jobs and what role national government plays in relation to this?

The Auditor-General’s report shows financial reporting consultants cost local government R5.31 billion over the previous term and 70% of municipalities use consultants for every year of the term. Further, it was lamented that the move, meant to enable quality financial statements, were not always realised.

For example, the financial statements submitted for auditing in 2020/2021 audit outcomes of local government, 59% of municipalities that used consultants revealed material errors.

Over the last 20 years, there has been an effort to increase capacity at local government level but considering the money that’s been spent and the results, we can see it isn’t much.

There are two problems here, the lack of proper management and development of skilled manpower as well as getting paid more in the private sector. There is a migration of skilled manpower from government to the private sector.

Dr Meron Okbandrias, Senior Lecturer at UWC's School of Government

The report found that about 28% of municipalities were considered in financial distress, with doubts around the future running of these areas.

That has been the problem since the dawn of democracy. The continuous self-development of officials, however, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference to officials.

Dr Meron Okbandrias, Senior Lecturer at UWC's School of Government.

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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Local govt are at the coal face of service delivery, but are they working?

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