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Municipalities Must Be Saved from the Siege of Corruption

Municipalities Must Be Saved from the Siege of Corruption Parliament South Africa
Portfolio Committee urges municipalities to clean up their act
October 30, 2019
Staff reporter
Parliament, South Africa: The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Faith Muthambi, said the recent oversight visits to several municipalities in Limpopo by the committee, was a cold reminder of the imperfect and messy journey the committee finds itself in, due to multifaceted challenges faced by municipalities that are at the coalface of service delivery.
According to Muthambi, the multifaceted challenges can be summed up as driven by sheer non-compliance with the prescripts of the regulations and laws, and to some extent, with total impunity. She said: “What stands between our current state of the arrested development and a prosperous South Africa that we want to build as it is espoused in the National Development Plan 2030, is the quality of public service to accomplish that objective.”
Muthambi said, the second objective of the committee’s visit to Limpopo’s municipalities was to follow up on the issues that emerged during the committee’s joint meeting with the Standing Committee on Public Account (Scopa) recently at Parliament on municipalities that received
disclaimer/adverse audit opinions over the previous three financial years.
It is a common knowledge, Ms Muthambi said, that an estimated 32 percent of the money lost on the so-called investments in VBS Mutual Bank were from grants intended for infrastructure projects in the municipalities.
That, from Ms Muthambi, indicates a serious deficit of the cultivation of good governance in some, if not most of these municipalities.

“With the glaring unemployment, this shameful act of unkindness towards the poorest of the poor should be arrested without delay if we are to work in unison for the common good of our citizens,” emphasised Ms Muthambi.

The recently released statistics on unemployment indicates that unemployment rate has worsened in South Africa, it is standing at 29.1%, the highest level in more than 11 years. This, according to Ms Muthambi, calls upon decision makers to step out of the comfortable leadership spaces and take decisive actions that will salvage the municipalities from the siege of corruption.

The journey to the right direction starts with admission of mistakes. “As we embarked on these oversight visits to the affected municipalities in Limpopo and North West, our objective was to ascertain the impact of the lost investments on service delivery,” said Muthambi.

She said, the committee is going to be brutal in its engagement with the affected municipalities where acts of corruption are found. “The fact of the matter is, without consequence management, we will not be leading, we will be indirectly contributing to the prevailing problems and confirming the prophesies by the prophets of doom,” added Muthambi.

Ms Muthambi said, what is happening in these municipalities is nothing “but a deviation from norms and standards, and that impedes very negatively on the government to function optimally”.

Ms Muthambi said, the affected municipalities lost their investments and have disclosed impairments totalling to R1.6 billion. That, according to Ms Muthambi, signals that some of the municipalities are under attack, and are no longer governed according to the democratic values and principles that are enshrined in the Constitution of the republic of South Africa, the principles that include, efficient, economic and effective use of state resources.