The Department of Provincial and Local Government briefed the Committee on the performance of the Municipal Systems Improvement and Municipal Infrastructure Grants. The Development Bank of South Africa then briefed the Committee on the progress made over the last year by the Bank. The Department’s presentation provided an overview of the performance, challenges and actions, and the collaborations with other sectors. It was said that there were many challenges that faced the municipalities. The Department’s measures to address the challenges included the development of action plans to deal with specific challenges in the province. The DBSA presentation provided a performance update on the various projects such as the Siyenza Manje, sustainable communities, the key initiatives, and projects with the North West provincial government. It was said that some of the key initiatives that had been undertaken by DBSA included the collaboration with National Treasury on the sustainable communities’ projects, and on the Consolidated Infrastructure Planning with the Department of Provincial and Local Government.
Members questioned the Department on a number of issues. The Chairperson asked the Department to provide a list of non performing municipalities so that the Committee could be informed on what was happening on the ground. Members felt that the Committee needed to look at issues of financial misconduct and take drastic steps to do something about this. The Department was asked to comment on why there were no monitoring mechanisms for the allocation of the funds, and why certain municipalities were still using funds from the previous financial year. There was a general feeling amongst members that MECs and Mayors of various provincial governments and municipalities should be called in and brought to account on issues surrounding financial misconduct.
Members felt that the presentation by Development Bank was a solution to some of the challenges faced by the Department, and there was no reason why the two could not work together. The Bank was asked to provide clarity on how its actions tied in with similar grants from National Treasury. The Chairperson noted that the Bank made reference to experts who were deployed to various municipalities. He asked for a list of the municipalities where experts were deployed, so that the Committee could assess the impact of the experts. The Chairperson also requested that the Department and Development Bank look into various financial challenges that were faced by municipalities, and whether it was necessary for the Bank to provide financial advisors.
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