Municipal failure must make leaders turn in their graves
The Times Editorial: Since 1994, many towns and municipalities have been honoured with the names of struggle veterans: OR Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Moses Kotane and Albert Luthuli. But how would these honourable men of the struggle feel today to find the dishonour attached to their names?
Yesterday, the auditor-general released his latest report on the audit outcomes of local government and it reveals a dire picture of how South Africa is managed at municipal level.
There is a significant number of municipalities named for struggle veterans that have utterly failed the people of South Africa.
Out of 283 municipalities, only 5% received clean audits, which means their books are clean, with no questions unanswered.
Five provinces did not have a single municipality with a clean audit, including Gauteng, South Africa's economic engine.
Worse still are the many municipalities that did not finalise their audits by the deadline.
One can feel only gloom at the grim insight the report provides into the reasons behind the service-delivery protests that have become the norm across the country.
If municipalities, the tier of government responsible for delivering the most basic of services to residents, are not functioning properly, what hope do we have for economic growth and stability in South Africa?
What is startlingly obvious from the report and its recommendations is that the government is greatly lacking in leadership, capacity and competence.
One of the stark statistics in the report is that 70% of officials in the municipalities audited did not have the minimum competencies and skills to perform their jobs.
Add to that the fact that 73% of the municipalities showed "a general lack of consequences for poor performance" and it is clear that South Africa is in deep trouble.
What is, unfortunately, abundantly clear is that we are rudderless and leaderless: a very bad place to be.