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Stern warning to all corrupt municipalities

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The message to municipalities is a clear one. They must stop diverting public funds from core service delivery initiatives.

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THE NEW Municipal Cost Containment Regulations, published last week, form the blueprint for how municipalities need to tighten their belts to ensure that as many cents, per rand they receive, are poured into service delivery and infrastructure projects.

It is a welcome development but also highlights the irregular and wasteful expenditure that has unfortunately become commonplace at some municipalities – to the detriment of those who are at the coalface in the lack of service delivery.

There are some notable exceptions and the public reaction to Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul’s decision to use the provincial budget – meant for new luxury vehicles for his province’s MECs – to instead buy 27 ambulances, reveals how politicians can get the backing of the public by tightening their belts and focusing on delivering services.

Indeed, this links with the resolutions taken at the recent ANC lekgotla, with the governing party promising to tackle corruption and rent-seeking and to build ethical public leadership.

For those who lead at municipalities, a warning has been issued and should they fail to implement or comply with the new regulations, they can be held liable for committing financial misconduct – which might be declared a criminal offence.

The message to municipalities is a clear one. They must stop diverting public funds from core service delivery initiatives.