Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma has announced a new departure in South African politics, saying that in future, national, provincial and local government elections would be held at the same time.
The President announced this and several other important matters in the National Assembly on Tuesday during his Budget Vote debate.
Zuma said the recent local elections had been both competitive and successful, as people voted for service delivery.
Now, the President says it’s time for local government to implement the turnaround strategy which, among others things, should immediately address financial management issues, improve supply chain management systems and ensure unqualified municipal reports in three years time.
He said municipalities should ensure that citizens accessed basics such as water and sanitation.
To better coordinate and support the provision of housing at local level, government has begun to accredit metros and top performing district municipalities to perform the housing function in support of the Department of Human Settlements.
Zuma said focus on local government was part of the government’s efforts to build a developmental state.
Government continued to improve lives of the people across the country, he said, pointing out some of the communities where change for the better had recently taken place.
These communities include the informal settlement of Bethlehem in Tshwane, where government stepped in recently and was now providing a monthly mobile clinic, while land had been identified to house the people living there.
In Mpumalanga’s Siyathemba community, he said additional housing units had been built as well as roads, while water and electricity services had been extended.
In addition, a community hall, clinic, disaster and computer centres had also been completed.
Zuma said following the Bekkersdal service delivery challenges by Ms Portia Mrwetyana on the Presidency Facebook page, mentioned in the State of the Nation Address, the provincial government was looking for safer land for the relocation of the community.
“They will also improve the services provided to the informal settlement in the interim. UMzimkhulu town, which was also mentioned by Bongokuhle Miya on Facebook and quoted in the State of the Nation Address in February, is receiving priority attention from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government,” he said.
He added that the sewage problem was being resolved, water cuts in the central business district had stopped and flooding during heavy raining would be sorted out. – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews