Business unites to improve service delivery
Cape Town – Government and big business are joining hands to improve service delivery, with a major announcement of capacity-building partnerships between business and municipalities expected to be made in August.
This was announced by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Richard Baloyi in his Budget Vote on Tuesday.
Cogta has been allocated a total budget of R56.12 billion for the 2013/14 fiscal year. Of this, R105 million will go to the Department of Traditional Affairs, and R252 million will be allocated to the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).
MISA’s share of the budget is meant to give the requisite professional support to enhance the capacity of municipalities to deliver services.
Baloyi said that business formations were polishing their offers for massive engagement to enhance the capacity of municipalities to deliver the best services, even in areas that had responsibilities devolved to municipalities as unfunded mandates.
In August, a major launch of partnerships between municipalities and business organisations will be launched. Some of these partnerships will address the rendering of basic services through turn-key initiatives to deliver water, sanitation and electricity.
Business Unity South Africa has also offered to partner with municipalities. They will assist in six priority areas that include local economic development, where private companies will be mobilised to support organised local government; energy and climate change; capacity-building to improve service delivery; public and private partnerships and the promotion of good governance.
Already ABSA has committed itself to focus on developing effective financial skills for local government leaders and managers; effective and transparent procurements; and leadership building in affordable housing.
The department will also continue with its agenda of further transforming the institution of traditional rule. At the same time, it will be fully configured to deal with the questions related to marking the centenary of the 1913 Land Act.
The department will also manage the impact of reopening the land reform process.
Soon, Cogta will in partnership with the Department of Higher Education, launch a programme to improve the skills of councilors and traditional leaders. Details of this project will also be made known in August.
On the fight against corruption, Baloyi said Cogta was at an advanced stage of finalising an agreement between the Local Government Inspectorate and the Special Investigations Unit.
Cogta has recommitted itself to its Local Government Turnaround Strategy Budget as a roadmap for effective support to the local sphere.
Reflecting on the results of this strategy, Minister Baloyi said a number of provinces were pushing hard towards achieving a clean audit by 2014.
Some of the achievements under the strategy included a decline in the number of households that had no toilet facility or which used bucket toilets.
The percentage of households which had their refuse removed weekly by municipalities had increased from 52.1 percent in 1996 to 62.1 percent in 2011. All municipalities had also established Ward Committees, while Ward Operational Plans were developed, implemented and being monitored.
According to Census 2011, grid electricity was more common as a source of lighting. Households using electricity for lighting had increased from 58.2 percent in 1996 to 84.7 percent in 2011.
The percentage using paraffin and candles declined from 28.7 and 11.4 percent to 12.7 and 3 percent respectively.
Sitting at 93.4 percent, the Western Cape has the biggest proportion of households using electricity. The Eastern Cape, with 75 percent, had the lowest percent of electricity usage in the country. – SAnews.gov.za