KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has today announced an array of austerity measures to help municipalities cut wasteful expenditure on non-core items, such as mayoral vehicles and security as well as municipal consultants, events, catering, cell phones and credit cards, and redirect funding towards service delivery to communities.
“Our own departmental austerity measures will now also apply to local government via a National Treasury circular which lists new cost-containment regulations that will be gazetted to become compulsory for all municipalities. In the past, such measures were mere guidelines but now they are non-negotiable,” said KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube as she unveiled her department’s 2018/2019 budget.
The new regulations limit the use of consultants and the cost of personal security for municipal office bearers. The cost of official vehicles for municipal office bearers is restricted to R700 000 or 70% of their annual package, flight tickets are limited to economy class, and the number of municipal representatives in international events is limited as is their travel and subsistence.
“We are also announcing a total ban on the use of municipal credit cards as well as severe restrictions on catering, entertainment and advertising by municipalities. We will be putting in place an oversight mechanism with proper management of consequences for non-compliance by municipal office bearers, councillors and officials,” said Dube-Ncube.
On the same occasion, KZN Cogta has also unveiled a mobile app, courtesy of Vodacom, that will enhance municipalities’ ability to respond to service delivery issues, such as water leaks and potholes. The app will offer functionality to the public, not only to log service delivery incidents, but also to follow up on the progress in their resolution by municipalities.
“The app works from any cell phone and allows the user to take images of a matter to be addressed. A logged incident is allocated a reference number which is sent via a text message and in app to the citizen. For citizens without smart phones, the solution offers a USSD string which offers similar functionality to the mobile app. The USSD can be customised to local languages,” said Dube-Ncube.
In addition, KZN Cogta has also announced the rollout of Smart Exchange Innovation Hubs across the province. The hubs will promote SMMEs in the ICT sector and stimulate innovation that will create much needed jobs. The department will be working closely with the Board and CEO of the Smart Exchange to ensure that the benefits are felt all over KZN.
For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Msawakhe Mayisela, 060 966 4220
Date: 3 May 2018