The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize, met seven distressed municipalities in Limpopo this week as part of the oversight visit to distressed and dysfunctional municipalities in the province.  

Minister Mkhize emphasised that the visit was to strengthen the Back to Basics approach in municipalities. “We want clean municipalities and ensure that our communities are able to benefit”, said Minister Mkhize.

The municipalities, which include the Mopani, Thabazimbi, Musina, Mogalakwena, Fetakgomo – Tubatse Modimolle – Mookgopong, and Vhembe municipalities, have been experiencing problems related to service delivery, unstable management and poor governance as well as poor financial management over the past few years.

Declining revenues

While interventions by national and provincial government have yielded positive results in some cases, they were less successful in others.

According to minister Mkhize there has been a decline in revenue collection by these municipalities, which negatively affected their financial viability and ability to honour their financial obligations for bulk electricity and water.

He urged municipalities to go back to basics and efficiently provide municipal services to be able to attract investment in their areas, which could improve revenue collection. He challenged them to rise to the occasion and establish viable local economic development strategies for economic growth, job creation and poverty eradication.

Unrealistic budgets

Minister Mkhize has also expressed his concern that municipalities were approving unrealistic budgets without the funds to finance the projects.

“The budgets should be aligned to the strategy and this will make it possible to ensure better and improved service delivery that benefits communities. The challenges of the municipalities that invested in the VBS MUTUAL BANK made this situation worse as the funds might have been lost forever,” said Mkhize.