Consumers owe billions

Consumers owe municipalities

Consumers owe billions
Xolile George, Local Government Association’s (SALGA) chief executive

The South African Local Government Association’s (SALGA) chief executive, Xolile George, announced recently that consumers owe municipalities billions and the figures change every year, “as the interest factor affects it”.

George said there were disputes relating to money owed and some were complicated. In some disputes there had been resolutions.

“When there is no dispute, the money must be paid. Unemployment and retrenchments were a problem. As some people cannot pay for services because they did not have enough money, it is huge and it is a concern,” George told reporters in Midrand.

SALGA’s deputy chairperson, Mpho Nawa, said local government had been under attack for service delivery, and that SALGA had developed a strategy platform for development. It was hoped that the platform would help drive policy and make assessments.

Executive director for corporate services at the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Rio Nolutshungu, said the strategy – presented before delegates at a two-day meeting at Gallagher Convention Centre – was intended to help municipalities make better use of its people.

He said municipalities needed professionals and a state which was responsive and customer-friendly.

Nolutshungu said human resources management played a smaller role in local government than in other sectors, but that SALGA intended placing it at the forefront to enable more effective municipalities. SALGA said it intended mobilising a database of cadres in human resources to deploy at short notice. 

This was to reshape human resources for the betterment of institutions. SALGA is considering expanding public accounts committees at municipalities to monitor under-performance and conduct.

George said he wants to create a culture of dealing with corruption in municipalities and ensuring the retention of staff by giving allowances to those with scarce skills, and by hiring graduates and interns. 

“We need to position local government as a career of choice,” he concluded.

SALGA envisaged a local government academy which would be placed at the disposal of municipalities to co-ordinate capacity building.

(Sapa)      

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