KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has expressed his concern at the deteriorating fiscal situation in the province’s municipalities following the outbreak of Covid-19 which has brought many industries in the province and country to a standstill.
The implementation of the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 has meant that many municipalities across the province have not been able to collect enough revenue in March and April. This could lead to a situation where the quality of services offered by municipalities is compromised as a result of the revenue shortfall.
Hlomuka has urged residents to utilise various platforms, which include digital platforms, to pay for services that are rendered by their respective municipality.
“It is important that we continue to pay for services which we receive from our municipalities. While we understand that the economic situation facing many of our communities is dire, there is a need for all of us to not neglect to pay for services, such as water, electricity and rates, as the financial viability of our municipalities depends on revenue generated from these services. We are appealing to residents who have defaulted to make the necessary arrangements with their respective municipalities,” said Hlomuka.
GAZETTING OF NEW REGULATIONS PAVING WAY FOR MUNICIPAL REVENUE GENERATION SERVICES TO OPERATE
Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka has also welcomed the gazetting of new regulations which pave the way for revenue generation by municipalities to re-commence. According to the guidelines that come into effect yesterday, municipalities are now allowed to operate revenue-generating services which include:
- payment for licenses;
- issuing of licenses of vehicles, renewal of drivers’ licenses and roadworthy certificates;
- municipal trading services, such as water and electricity, property rates, refuse removal, and rental payments;
- issuing of clearance certificates; and
- meter reading.
“The sphere of local government in our province and country is facing immense pressure as a result of Covid-19. Through this crisis, we have seen this sphere taking the lead through the sanitisation of public spaces, such as municipal buildings, with the aim of preventing the spread of Covid-19 in our communities. As our municipalities re-commence with the process of rendering the revenue-generating services, it is important that Covid-19 guidelines be followed so that we can protect our residents,” said Hlomuka.
Residents are urged to consult with their respective ward councillors or municipalities regarding when these services will be open.
Hlomuka has also urged municipalities and municipal entities to ensure that they adhere to all Covid-19 public health regulations and containment prescripts, especially those relating to gatherings and physical distancing when performing essential municipal services which include revenue collection.