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CoGTA MEC, MZI KHUMALO, SPELL OUT HIS DEPARTMENT’S PRIORITIES FOR THE   2023/24 FINANCIAL YEAR

Nie Cele

Following a marathon of Budget Vote speeches from all the Gauteng Provincial Departments last week. One of the most notable and remarkable Budget Vote Speech delivered in front of a horde of journalists came from Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs   (Cogta) MEC, Mzi Khumalo who immaculately and eloquently explained his department’s priorities for the financial year 2023/24.

Speaking in staccato style, he cleverly addressed all the hot potato issues and challenges faced by the Gauteng Population including the instability in civic politics that has seen the changing and chopping of Executive Mayors of the Metropolitan Municipalities in the province. Political analyst in the media space have labelled this conundrum a fashionable trend and a mission possible fiasco that will become a story of our lives in civic politics.

Listening to his address one could clearly detect that he is a former Executive Mayor of Rand West local Municipality with a wealth of experience and a well versed knowledge in anything connected to civic politics.

READ BELOW THE UNFILTERED CoGTA PRIORITIES FOR THE 2023/24

Budget for 2023/24

 MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Mzi Khumalo tabled a budget of R 639 686 000(six hundred and thirty-nine million six hundred and eighty-six thousand) for the 2023/24 financial year. This is an increase of 5% from the R 610 789 000 which was allocated during the 2022/23 financial year.

  • The R276 463 000, (two hundred and seventy-six million four hundred and sixty-three thousand)45% of the budget,is allocated to local government grants and is the highest allocation.
  • R165 052 000 (one hundred sixty-five million and fifty-two thousand)is set aside for administration.
  • R148, 926 000(one hundred forty-eight million and nine hundred and twenty-six thousand)for development planning
  • R20 346 000(twenty million three hundred and forty-six thousand)forthe institutions of traditional leadership.

The Department is determined to build the economy and improve infrastructure at the local level.  We acknowledge the challenges in our ability to ramp up service delivery system to the formerly disadvantaged communities.

We are in the last full financial year of the 6th administration of Government, and it is therefore imperative that our focus be on improving services and living conditions of the people in Townships, Informal Settlements, and Hostels (TISH).

Municipal Infrastructure

The Hillhaven Outfall Sewer project in the West Rand, a Municipal Infrastructure Grant project. “Municipal Infrastructure can serve as a stimulus for economic development. This project, when completed, will benefit more than 5000 households at a cost of R138m.

Coalitions

Instability at the level of local government in the province is continuing to bring adverse effects to the much-needed services to the people of Gauteng.We are continuously working with municipalities to strengthen conflict resolution capacity in coalition governments across Gauteng.We have finalised the report on the study on the impact of coalition governments in the province. This report will guide our work as we undertake a review of governance model in our municipalities.

During the 2023/24 State of the Province Address, in response to the sinkholes in Merafong, Gauteng Premier pronounced the establishment of Permanent Emergency Disaster Management Centre.The centre is aimed at centralizing the multi sectoral rapid response, including government departments, mining community and business sector to speedily address the challenges of sinkholes adding that this approach is of its kind in recent times.

The Auditor General’s (AG) findings in previous financial years highlighted that municipalities are plagued by poor governance.   In response to AG, we initiated the Accountability and Ethical Conduct Trainingto capacitate municipal officials and councillors with the goal of providing knowledge on governance issues in the public sector.

The Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputesand Claimswas launched by the Premier of Gauteng on 22 November 2022 and to date has received more than 500 claims. The mandate of the commission is to resolve claims and disputes guided by the claims register.

On public participation,we are in the process of training Community Development Workers (CDWs) to further entrench the Ward Based Approached.

Our work is to ensure that people participate in the systems of democracy. Voter apathy was evident in the 2021 local government elections. We areimplementing a comprehensive civic education programme to create awareness on voter registration and participation thereof.Weare alsostrengthening support role to municipalities on the implementation of IDPs and the DDM in collaboration with other sector departments.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre finalised the provincial risk profile and currently in the process of aligning them to the indicative risk profile.  The province has set up a Project Management Office aimed at further exploring other means of dealing with energy challenges. The Premier’s Energy Emergency Council has also developed an Energy Crisis Response Planand subsequent an Energy Technical Task Team.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUPPLIED.

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