Ms. Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, presented the R2.4 billion budget for the department to the KZN Provincial Legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, April 20.

The Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) delivered her first Budget Policy Speech, in which she detailed the important priorities for the department in the 2023–24 fiscal year.

The initiation of payments of backpay for izinduna for the period covering 2013–2016, for which a total of over R600 million has been allotted, was one of the most important announcements that the MEC made during her address.

The department and the provincial government have been making significant efforts, and the payment of the backpay marks an important milestone in those efforts. Their goal is to restore the status and dignity of the institution of traditional leadership in our communities. “Izinduna are leaders within our communities, and under the custodianship of amakhosi, izinduna play a role of being a vital link between amakhosi and communities, and they contribute immensely towards social cohesion.”

In her address, the MEC also touched on a few other topics, including the continuation of preferential procurement in accordance with the legislation that is now in effect in the government, the enhancement of capacity within the department as well as within the realm of local government, and the establishment of traditional leadership.

As the department works to rid local governments of waste and corruption, one of its top priorities is to continue investing resources in order to assist improvements in the outcomes of municipal audits.

The department’s efforts to institutionalise the district development model continue to be a major priority, and particular focus is being paid to the design and execution of the concept of “one district, one plan.”

The department continues to be dedicated to the extension of fundamental services like electricity and water, and it is providing specialised technicians from inside the department to support municipalities in this endeavour.

“We are also committed to the revitalization of our small towns through deliberate and intentional investments aimed at growing the economy within secondary towns in line with the new model that we will pilot,” said MEC Sithole-Moloi. “We will be piloting this new model in the coming months.”