The South African Local Government Association (Salga), a representative of 278 municipalities in the country, says it takes pride in the progress and positive trends that are reflected in the Municipal Audit Outcomes report.

The report by the Auditor General showed improvements in the delivery of services by municipalities in the 2014/15 financial year.

The Non-Financial Census of Municipalities (NFCM) which was released by Statistician General Pali Lehohla last month indicates that the number of consumer units receiving basic services from municipalities increased between 2013 and 2014.

The highest percentage increase between 2013 and 2014 in the provision of services was recorded for sewerage and sanitation which stood at 5.9 percent, followed by solid waste management at 5.6 percent, electricity at 4.6 percent and water at 3.9 percent.

According to the fourth quarter results of the audit outcomes for the 2014/2015 financial year municipalities spent 88 percent or R305.8 billion of the total adjusted budget of R347.3 billion.

There has been a decrease in the number of bucket toilets provided in 2014 compared to 2013.

“The national decrease was mainly due to the drop in the number of bucket toilets in the Eastern Cape and to a lesser extent the Free State. These two provinces still have 78 percent or of all bucket toilets in the country,” Salga said.

Last year there were nearly 3. 5 million indigent households, out of this 2.5 million indigent households benefited from the indigent support system for water, while 2 million benefited from basic electricity provided by municipalities.

The number of fulltime and part-time people employed by municipalities increased from 257 186 in 2013 to 261 161 in 2014.

“These statistics confirm the positive trend of increased access to basic services to South Africans. Salga welcomes these statistics and will assist in ensuring that the positive trend continues in the local government sector,” the association said.