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MLM classified as dysfunctional


28 September 2021

MLM forms part of the 31% of municipalities countrywide that are classified as dysfunctional.

Municipalities are tasked by the Constitution to structure and manage their administration, budgeting and planning processes to be able to carry out service delivery in a timely, acceptable, efficient and fitting manner. This is not the case for many targeted municipalities in Mpumalanga, which includes the floundering Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM). MLM has been fingered in governance performance reports as being classified as dysfunctional. This means that MLM, along with 3 other municipalities, are viewed as high risk in light of service delivery and management failure. In total, seven municipalities are under scrutiny by the National Department of Cooperative Governance (COGTA). This entity has announced Municipal Intervention Plans, which is focused on underperforming and distressed municipalities within the Gert Sibande District Municipality’s area of governance.

The lack of capacity in local government is a recurring theme as is the lack of impact on the current initiatives. The Department plans to put in place priority interventions jointly with SALGA and LGSETA for coordinating support, capacity building and training initiatives to ensure that the necessary impact is realized. During the stabilization phase, the Department will engage with National Treasury to facilitate the reprioritisation of the capacity building grants to implement immediate priorities. The Department will also deploy financial technical capacity in targeted districts to improve financial management. Technical support will be provided in several areas, including the roads and storm water drainage, energy, water and sanitation, solid waste, revenue enhancement as well as the construction of roads. However, the continued failure to effect turnarounds in several municipalities requires further more intensive, dedicated and radical interventions. Several of these municipalities, including MLM, either misuse or fail to implement and manage the MIG funds, and implement the infrastructure projects that will improve the lives of the people. The report also states that the overall performance of these municipalities is below expectations.

MLM forms part of the 31% of municipalities countrywide that are classified as dysfunctional. The report also states that the situation within these municipalities indicate that there is limited inhouse experience for managing infrastructure projects, handling tender documents and meaningfully interacting with contractors. There is also limited scheduled maintenance of infrastructure taking place. These challenges make it difficult for municipalities to spend the funds they obtain from national government to assist them with infrastructure development. It has been advised that the dysfunctional, high risk municipalities, namely Msukaligwa, Lekwa, Govan Mbeki and Dipaliseng Local Municipalities all be placed under administration. This advisory is still under consideration by the MEC. Mkhondo and Dr Pixley ka Seme Local Municipalities have been classified as medium risk, while Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality has been touted as low risk.

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