KZN extends interventions in eight municipalities

KZN extends interventions in eight municipalities

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council has approved the extension of the financial intervention in eight of the province’s municipalities.

The Executive Council took the decision during its first ordinary meeting for the year, held on Wednesday.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, said after receiving a comprehensive report on the state of municipalities under intervention, the Provincial Cabinet has decided it was in the municipalities’ best interests to extend all current interventions, and to “enable them to continue receiving support from the entirety of government due to the challenges they face”.

The municipalities which are currently under section 139 (1)(b) intervention include Mpofana, Msunduzi, Inkosi Langalibalele, UThukela, Umzinyathi, Abaqulusi, Mtubatuba and uMkhanyakude.

Zikalala said the municipalities face serious financial difficulties, including unfunded budgets, huge budget deficits, persistent power cut threats from Eskom, infrastructure and service delivery challenges.

“Some are besieged by instability and parallel structures, while others are engaged in perpetual legal battles other than focusing on service delivery. The Executive Council is of the view that there is a need for the continuation of support to allow the technical experts to turn the situation around in these municipalities, and to refocus them on the basic issues of service delivery.

“The Provincial Executive Council believes that the extended municipal interventions are in the best interests of the citizens who are served by these municipalities and they will benefit from the support of the other spheres of government, as prescribed by the Constitution,” Zikalala said.

The interventions are extended to 30 April 2022, [and] after which “the necessary assessments review and considerations by the Executive Council will occur,” said the Premier.

Fiscal adjustment plan

Following a discussion and analysis on the budget performance report by the provincial departments, the Executive Council also directed all departments to bring their budgets to balance by cutting wastage and items that departments can do without, but without compromising service delivery.

The Council, which adopted a firm view that no department should underspend or overspend its budget allocation, has directed departments – guided by the Provincial Treasury- to develop turnaround plans to meet expenditure controls, and to ensure value for money on all transactions.

“The budget reprioritisation process must ensure that service delivery is a priority and is protected, while non-core activities such as accommodation and travel, office furniture, filling non–core posts and medico-legal costs should be curtailed to reign in runaway expenditure.

“[The] departments are to resubmit their turnaround plans to the Executive Council, which will detail how they will stay within their allocated budgets,” the Premier said.

Land and Governance Summit

Meanwhile, the Executive Council has approved the hosting of the Land and Governance Summit, which will focus on land development in rural areas and municipalities.

The Premier said the summit will reflect on a number of land-related questions, including planning issues, allocation and collaboration between Amakhosi and municipalities to improve service delivery.

“The Executive Council recognises the call for efficient land administration and management, and the need to use land as an instrument to meet the development needs of citizens,” Zikalala said. – SAnews

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