KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) will be fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath with a capable, ethical and developmental local government in the 2020/2021 financial year, according to its MEC Sipho Hlomuka who tabled the department’s annual budget of R1.879 –billion in a virtual sitting of the Provincial Legislature today.
“We have been supporting municipalities with cleaning of public places and facilitating Covid-19 awareness campaigns and distribution of hand sanitisers. To ensure municipal funding for Covid-19, we have facilitated the settlement of government debt owed to municipalities. We have also supported municipalities in revising their budgets to include Covid-19 allocations,” said Hlomuka.
KZN Cogta has acknowledged that the impact of Covid-19 has hit the province’s economy hard both in the formal and the informal sector. The department has provided wide-ranging support to the province’s 54 municipalities in ensuring that informal traders in particular do receive relief as per the pronouncements made by the national government.
“We have also formulated a Recovery Plan to support the recovery of local government post-lockdown. It is based on five pillars, namely, governance, finance, basic service delivery, performance management and the brand new District Development Model. We are now engaging with all 54 municipalities to develop their own customised Post-Lockdown Recovery Plans,” said Hlomuka.
To mitigate the possibility that many local industries might close down post Covid-19 and the ensuing job losses, KZN Cogta will ensure that municipalities will be supported with infrastructure development and measures to support surviving industries, attracting investment and reducing the Red Tape. The department will also facilitate completion of infrastructure, especially water infrastructure projects.
“As important as the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is at the moment, it cannot detract from our long-term vision of creating a capable, ethical and developmental local government in KZN. As we continue to mould our municipalities and traditional institutions in this fashion, we are already seeing the benefits of this transformation in our Covid-19 interventions,” said Hlomuka.