Question NW509 to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

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25 March 2024 - NW509

Profile picture: Msimango, Mr X N

Msimango, Mr X N to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

What are the (a) reasons that there is so much dependency on external service providers by municipalities for the work that can be done internally and (b) required measures to build internal capacity to provide the core services required by the public?


a) Reasons for dependency on external service providers by municipalities for the work that can be done internally have been investigated and documented in the State of Local Government Report (SOLG) as follows:

  • Lack of adequate support from National and Provincial Government departments and other service delivery departments.
  • High vacancies rates in key senior management positions within municipalities (especially distressed municipalities) has resulted in the increased reliance on external service providers in core services.
  • The absence of CFOs in municipalities impact sound financial management and vacancies in the technical departments compromise service delivery.
  • Revenue challenges in municipalities (especially dysfunctional municipalities) caused by negative economic position makes is difficult for them to attract and retain competent staff members.

b) Measures to build internal capacity to provide the core services required by the public:

a) The introduction of the Municipal Systems Act: Municipal Staff Regulations of 2021, in line with the Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000, laid a solid foundation for the achievement of the objective to strengthen the capacity of municipalities to perform their functions through recruitment and appointment of suitably qualified and competent persons, thereby professionalising local government and decreasing the use of external service providers for core functions.

b) Municipal Skill audits (Gapskill system):

Chapter 5 of the MSR obliges municipalities to conduct Skills development to:

  • support the achievement of the municipality’s goals set out in the Integrated Development Plan by providing critical skills that ensure the delivery of quality services.
  • promote the development and retention of competent municipal staff, including the development of technical, professional and specialist staff who have the required qualifications and skills.
  • support the employment equity objectives of a municipality.
  • be based on high quality provision and effective workplace learning and development practices, including coaching, mentoring, on-the-job learning and opportunities for the practical application of skills in the workplace.

Moreover, the department is finalizing the enhancement of the Gapskill system in order to assist municipalities to support staff members to:

  • clarify the skills required for jobs, identifying relevant skills needs and develop opportunities to satisfy the skills needs.
  • identify new skills and knowledge required by staff to support their career growth and progression.
  • create learning opportunities which will allow their staff to develop the skills and expertise to enable them to compete effectively for placement in new or vacant posts; and
  • ensure that skills development is a KPA in senior managers and supervisors performance agreements.

c) Professionalisation of the public services:

  • The Department is participating in the implementation of the Professionalisation of public service through the setting of uniform standards for staff establishment, job competency framework, recruitment, selection and appointment, performance management, capacity building and skills development.
  • To deal with the issue of bloated organograms, the Department developed prototypes staff establishments according to powers and functions of different categories of municipalities and is now in the process of piloting and validating the prototype staff establishments in all municipalities, over a period of 36 months. The implementation of the prototype staff establishments will result in the “fit for purpose” functional operating models of municipalities. Capacitated municipalities will no longer rely on service providers for core services.
  • In 2016, the Department introduced competency assessment for senior managers in line with the Competency Framework as promulgated in 2014 with the Regulations on appointment and conditions of services for senior managers (Regulations). The Department has finalised the review of the current Local Government: Competency Framework and assessment batteries for different categories of municipal positions during the 2022/23 financial year and has embarked on the pilot and validation of competency assessment batteries during the 2023/24 financial year.

d) To strengthen the coordination of capacity building in local government, the in order to build internal capacity:

The NCBF of 2004 has been reviewed and resulted in the approval of the Integrated Local Government Capacity Building Strategy (ILGCBS&IP) in 2022. This aims to provide an overarching new framework strategy that incorporates all current existing capacity building strategies in local government. The ILGCBS&IP will decisively deal with the rise of well-intended, but uncoordinated short-term municipal capacity building interventions and ensure that all municipalities become adequately capacitated to take on their redistribution, transformation and developmental tasks in a viable, structured and affordable way, and within the shortest possible period of time (as directed in the Constitution).

Establishment of a Sector-wide National Capacity Building Coordinating Forum as a coordination mechanism - consists of key sector departments, provincial departments responsible for local government, state associated institutions (LGSETA, SALGA). It serves as single-window of capacity building coordination and a clearing house for any initiative that is earmarked for local government.


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