ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
31 July 2019
 
EThekwini Municipality Committed To Improving Service Delivery
 
EThekwini Municipality’s leadership reaffirmed their commitment to improving the lives of residents’ through providing efficient service delivery and growing the local economy.
 
This commitment was made following an address by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a Full Council meeting held today, 31 July at the Durban City Hall.
 
Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s address formed part of an oversight visit to eThekwini to gauge the level of service delivery as well as other challenges faced in the City. Deputy Minister of Cogta Parks Tau was also present at the Full Council meeting.
 
Minister Dlamini-Zuma praised the City for the great strides made thus far while highlighting some challenges that needed to be urgently addressed.
 
“This is my first visit to the metro and I appreciate that you have committed yourself to doing well and addressing issues raised by the Auditor General of South Africa, Cogta and eThekwini residents. I am happy to hear that when I come back for a second visit I will find a different picture to the one I see,” she said. “However, the challenges highlighted in eThekwini do not draw away from the good that has been done in the City. We highlight these challenges because we want eThekwini to move from being a good City to an excellent one.”
She said she wants eThekwini to be a centre of excellence for local government.
 
Minister Dlamini-Zuma, during her address, said this gathering is part of the work they should be undertaking on an ongoing basis as part of cooperative governance as envisaged by Section 41 (1) of the Constitution to “secure the well-being of our people”.
 
She said while they can go about the “achievements of this great City”, it is common knowledge that many municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of the country are facing many challenges.
 
“Our responsibility is to ensure that we visit all those that are troubled and those that are successful so that we may gather first-hand the successes and challenges. Our journey here today is one of exploration, towards a common understanding of the gains, challenges and capacity constraints facing the City. This visit is actually part of a broader assessment that we have undertaken to develop a comprehensive analysis of the state of this and the other 53 municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. We believe that the learnings from this municipality can help us to drive the development of other municipalities,” she said.
 
She added: “The baseline will assist us not only to identify the specific challenges, impacting on the stability and functionality of municipalities, but to also identify new opportunities and innovations in delivering services to communities.”
 
Minister Dlamini-Zuma said local government is the most important sphere of government because of its close proximity to people.
“This means that it has to be best supported by national and provincial governments to deliver on its mandate effectively and efficiently. For government to effectively deliver services, local government must function optimally. However, our assessment of local government tells us that there are challenges facing municipalities across the country and that these need to be attended to immediately.”
 
She said one province was under section 100 administration with 40 municipalities currently under section 139 administration with many more that are dysfunctional or struggling.
 
“EThekwini Municipality has indeed made significant gains in expanding access to services for the majority of people. Despite these gains, there are significant challenges that need to be addressed for the Municipality to regain its growth momentum. The Auditor General gave the Municipality an unqualified report with findings. This means that we must find ways to improve collection on services rendered by the Municipality, as the metro cannot afford to continue to write off bad debt. We also need to intensify the war on leaks and illegal connections, which has led to a R740 million revenue loss due to water losses of 105 million Kilo-litres,” Minister Dlamini-Zuma added.
 
Acting eThekwini Mayor Fawzia Peer said while much has been achieved in the City, she believes even more can be done if all stakeholders work together.
 
“We are transforming lives and impacting communities. We still face challenges including poverty, unemployment, growing inequality and underdevelopment. Our budget of R50.6 billion for the 2019/20 financial year is an action budget as this is the season for implementation.
 
We want to create an enabling environment for all residents to realise their full potential and access opportunities,” she said.
 
Acting Mayor Peer said they remained focused on attracting investors to the City and expanding infrastructure development.
 
“We have identified priority areas to be addressed and are implementing interim measures to reignite development.”
 
She stressed that the City would take up the challenges raised by Minister Dlamini-Zuma.
 
“We do believe that we will overcome these challenges. We are on top of these issues as we have implemented a number of programmes to address challenges in the City. We assure you Minister, that we will resolve these issues by your second visit to eThekwini,” she said.
 
ENDS
 
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.