About Us




COGTA envisages “People Centered Sustainable Cooperative Governance”.


“KZN COGTA will coordinate and foster cooperation amongst governance institutions and build capacity to accelerate delivery of high quality services to communities”.




Transparency, integrity, professionalism and objectivity

Allowing service beneficiaries and staff to ask questions and responding to their enquiries honestly, frankly and timeously.

A high standard of fiscal discipline and accountability

All expenditure be accounted for and be aligned to departmental objectives.

Value for money

Adding value to the lives of service beneficiaries.

Open communication and consultation

Listening to, taking account of the views and paying heed to the needs of service beneficiaries, when deciding what services should be provided.

Respect for staff and investment in them as a valued asset

Treating staff with consideration and respect and assigning development programmes in line with the Department’s objectives and providing a wellness programme.

Recognition of performance excellence

Rewarding and recognising staff for good performance.

Service excellence through teamwork, sound planning and committed implementation

Support programmes developed by the Department are designed and monitored to impact on service beneficiaries.


Structure of the department.  An organogram of the department is provided, linking to more information about business units, with information about managers, functions and responsibilities of units.

The department has four programmes Administration, Local Government, Development and Planning, Traditional Affairs.


Constitutional Mandate

The mandates of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are embodied in the following Sections of the Constitution, 1996:

  • Section 139 provides for provincial intervention in local government. This intervention in municipalities, includes the issuing of directives, and managing interventions by the Provincial Executive Council in accordance with the provisions of section 139(1) (a), (b) and (c);
  • Section 154 determines that provincial governments must provide support and strengthen the capacity of  municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions in accordance with the provisions of section 154(1) and (2);
  • Section 155(5) and (6) determines the types of municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, and establishes municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, thereafter the Municipalities, by legislative and other measures, must be monitored and supported, in addition to which the Department  must promote the development of local government capacity, to enable municipalities to perform their functions and manage their own affairs; and
  • Section 155 (7) stipulates that provincial governments have legislative and executive authority to see to the effective performance by municipalities of their functions in respect of matters listed in Schedules 4 and 5, by regulating the exercise by municipalities of their executive authority referred to in section 156(1).

Legislative Mandates

The following legislation is administered by the Department:

  • Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act No. 32 of 2000)
  • Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act No. 117 of 1998)
  • Local Government: Municipal Financial Management Act, 2003 (Act No. 53 of 2003)
  • Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act, 2004 (Act No. 6 of 2004)
  • Local Government Demarcation Act, 1998 (Act No. 6 of 2004)
  • Local Government Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000)
  • Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003 (Act No. 41 of 2003)
  • Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) 
  • Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013: (Act No. 16 of 2013)
  • Infrastructure Development Act, 2014 (Act No. 23 of 2014)
  • Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act, 2007 (Act No. 12 of 2007)
  • Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act, 1998 (Act No. 20 of 1998)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act, 2008 (Act No. 6 of 2008)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Pounds Act, 2006 (Act No. 3 of 2006)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Cemeteries and Crematoria Act, 1996 (Act No. 32 of 2000)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Determination of Types of Municipalities Act, 2000 (Act No. 7 of   2000) 
  • KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, 2005 (Act No. 5 of 2005)
  • Fire Brigade Services Act, 1987 (Act No. 99 of 1987)


Policy mandates have in the past created the parameters within which laws have been developed. For example, the White Paper on Developmental Local Government created the policy environment for the development of the Municipal Structures, Systems, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations Acts.

Policy mandates are also associated with policy pronouncements such as: the National Development Plan (NDP), Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) which then enhance the mandate for Cooperative Governance

Freedom Charter, 1961

The Freedom Charter is a document that the Congress of the People adopted in 1961 as to what would be a picture of a free South Africa. The Freedom Charter declares that ''South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people" (Freedom Charter, 1961: 1). The will of all people is at the centre, and forms a base for this document. The core principles of the Freedom Charter find manifestation in the SA Constitution. The key opening demand for the Freedom Charter is “The people shall govern”. This means that all men and women off all races, sex and colour have a right to vote, and can stand as a candidate for all bodies which make law and are entitled to be part of the administration of the country. Indeed, as COGTA we have witnessed that our government is elected regularly through transparent, free and fair elections as a prerequisite of our democracy demanded by the Freedom Charter. Every South African has the right to elect a government of his or her own choice. Regardless of race, the charter also calls for full equal rights for all citizens including human rights; common ownership of land and industry; equality before law; right to housing, security and comfort; jobs and security; fully-funded education for children and greater access to higher education. 

The Freedom Charter remains the platform and vision for South African policies, strategic thinking and aspirations that South Africa seeks to achieve. On the Statement of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress, President Jacob Zuma defines National Development Plan (NDP) as an “overarching plan and a vision to realise the ideals of the Freedom Charter to put in place a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it” (Statement of the NEC of the ANC, 2015: 3). This means that the NDP is our long term vision to attain the objectives of the Freedom Charter.

26 June 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter. While there has been huge progress, there is still a lot to be done for our people in giving effect to the ideals envisaged by the Freedom Charter. Our role as COGTA is to co-ordinate, lead Integrated Provincial Service Delivery; support ward based planning; and strengthen Local Government to ensure that it has the necessary capacity to decently house people whilst providing other necessary services such as transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, crèches and social centres called for by the Freedom Charter. The Department will also work towards improving consultation, communication and feedback in municipalities and traditional councils.

National Development Plan and Medium Term Strategic Framework

The National Development Plan is a plan for South Africa and provides a broad strategic framework to guide key choices and actions in order to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and unemployment by 2030. The NDP approach draws extensively on the notion of capabilities, active citizenry and inclusive economy, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. As with the Freedom Charter, NDP calls on our people to be part of an active citizenry and to take greater collective responsibility for their own development.

COGTA contributes to the delivery of chapters 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 14 and 15 of the NDP. Table 8.2 illustrates the alignment of the COGTA strategic goals and objectives with the NDP, MTSF outcomes and PGDP. 

Chapter 4 of the NDP: Economic Infrastructure stipulates that in order for the country to support the long term economic objectives and development goals, South Africa needs to extensively invest in basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation, telecommunications and public transport.  The challenge is to maintain and expand the provision of basic services in order to address the demands of the growing economy. Our role as COGTA includes providing support to municipalities in the provision of new infrastructure, as well as operational, maintenance and upgrade of existing infrastructure. In addition, COGTA will strengthen the capacity of municipalities to efficiently deliver infrastructure services to the required standard. 

According to Chapter 5 of the NDP: Environmental Sustainability and Resilience, developmental challenges must be addressed in a manner that ensures environmental sustainability and builds resilience to the effects of climate change, particularly in poorer communities (NDP, 2011: 197). To this effect, adaptation strategies in conjunction with national development strategies should be implemented, including disaster preparedness, investment in more sustainable technologies and programmes to conserve and rehabilitate ecosystems and biodiversity assets. Consequently, the strategic objective of KZN COGTA is to increase adaptation to Climate Change impacts and improve Disaster Management by identifying and putting into effect appropriate policies and measures.

Chapter 6 of the NDP: An Integrated and Inclusive Rural Economy states that by 2030 South African rural communities must have better opportunities to fully participate in the economic, social and political life of the country. Our people will only achieve this through access to high-quality basic services which will enable them to seek economic opportunities. COGTA acknowledges the challenges at municipalities and it is then our priority to implement the Back to Basics programme and ensure that all municipalities move from a dysfunctional to functional state. 

One of the key objectives of the NDP is to ensure a transformed Human Settlement (Chapter 8). To have a strong and efficient spatial planning system well integrated across the spheres of government. Among other things this will require:

  • Reforms to the current planning system for improved co-ordination;
  • Develop a strategy for densification of cities and resource allocation to promote better located housing and settlements;
  • Introduce spatial development framework and norms, including improving the balance between location of jobs and people; and
  • Provide incentives for citizen activity for local planning and development of spatial compacts.

Chapter 13 of the NDP: Building a Capable and Developmental State places emphasis on building a capable state to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and unemployment by 2030. Our determination is to ensure that Local Government has committed people with appropriate skills and is capable of being transformative and developmental state to achieve NDP goals. Building a capable state necessitates the following:

  • Stabilisation of the political administrative interface;
  • Making the public service and local government careers of choice;
  • Development of technical and specialist professional skills;
  • Improving relationships between the spheres of government, and
  • Reforming the state owned enterprises.

Chapter 14 of the NDP: Fighting Corruption states that corruption frustrates the country’s ability of operating fairly and efficiently, and hinders the country’s ability to deliver on its development mandate. A no “corruption country” will be realised through:

  • Enforcement of law, procedures and policies will ensure that anti-corruption agencies have requisite resources and independence;
  • Prevention focuses on the effectiveness of the available systems, institutional arrangements and accountability in the organisation; and
  • Education in society is about the society understanding the social dimensions of corruption and reporting it.
  • Operation Clean Audit, good governance, sound financial management and accountability remain the priority for COGTA.

The National Development Plan is the collective future of people of South Africa regardless of gender and race and it is our responsibility to make it work. Chapter 15 of the NDP: Transforming Society and Uniting the Country emphasises that people must unite around a vision of a better South Africa. This indicates that citizens have an important role to play in bringing about transformation and holding government accountable for the services they deliver. Participation in local governance is a key principle of post-apartheid legislation.  White Paper on Local Government (1998) encourages municipalities to find ways of structuring participation to enhance service delivery. KZN COGTA will work towards strengthening the functionality of oversight structures; Ward Based Planning; Ward Committees; improve timeous consultation, communication and feedback in municipalities and traditional councils. It will also enhance the participation of Traditional Leaders in municipalities and improve IGR Structures. 

The MTSF is the short term strategy that gives effect to the NDP. The NDP and MTSF identify the following priorities that are particularly important to improve Local Government performance and ensure quality service delivery:

a) Members of society have sustainable and reliable access to basic services.

(Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 1).

b) Intergovernmental and democratic governance arrangements for a functional system of cooperative governance strengthened (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 2).

c) Sound financial and administrative management. (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 3).

d) Promotion of social and economic development. (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 4)

e) Local public employment programmes expanded through the Community Work Programme.

(Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 5).

Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP)

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) is a comprehensive document that addresses the enormous triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. This is a long-term plan which sets ambitious but achievable targets that will be realised by the year 2035. The PGDP espouses the Provincial vision that: KwaZulu-Natal will be a prosperous Province with a healthy, secure and skilled population, acting as a gateway to Africa and the World.

The PGDP is aligned to the National Development Plan. The Department’s operations are guided by the National Development Plan, 2030 which is expressed in the Provincial Growth and Development Plan



Inclusive Economic Growth

  • Develop and promote the agricultural potential of KZN 
  • Enhance sectoral development through trade investment and business retention 
  • Enhance spatial economic development 
  • Improve the efficiency, innovation and variety of government-led job creation programmes 
  • Promote SMME and entrepreneurial development  Enhance the Knowledge Economy

Human Resource Development

  • Improve Early Childhood Development, Primary and Secondary Education
  • Support Skills alignment to Economic Growth
  • Enhance youth and adult skills development and life-long learning

Human And Community Development

  • Eradicate poverty and improve social welfare services
  • Enhancing Health of Communities and Citizens
  • Safeguard Sustainable Livelihoods & Food Security
  • Promote Sustainable Human Settlements
  • Enhancing Safety & Security
  • Advance Social Cohesion and social capital
  • Promote Youth, Gender and Disability Advocacy & the Advancement of Women

Infrastructure Development

  • Development of Ports and Harbours Seaports and Airports
  • Development of Road & Rail Networks
  • Development of ICT Infrastructure
  • Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and
  • sanitation for all
  • Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Enhance KZN waste management capacity

Environmental Sustainability

  • Enhance resilience of ecosystem services
  • Expand the application of green technologies
  • Adapt and respond to climate change

Governance and Policy

  • Strengthen Policy, Strategy Co-ordination and IGR
  • Building Government Capacity
  • Eradicate Fraud & Corruption
  • Promote Participative, Facilitative & Accountable Governance

Spatial Equity

  • Enhance the resilience of new and existing cities, towns and rural
  • nodes, ensuring equitable access to resources, social and economic opportunities 
  • Ensure integrated land management use across the Province, ensuring equitable access to goods and services, attracting social and financial investment

The Department is committed to the alignment of its 18/19 APP with the PGDP and where it is felt that the interventions are operational, these will be incorporated in the Business Plans of the respective Business Units.

ANC 2016 Local Government Manifesto

In line with the NDP, the ANC manifesto aims to move South Africa forward in addressing the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Together with communities, the ANC commits to:

  • Build on achievements made in delivering basic services to the people
  • Improve access to municipal services and reduce outsourcing in municipalities
  • Further improve public participation and accountability of councillors
  • Enhance the capacity of the local state to deliver on its mandate.
  • Develop and strengthen local economies, create jobs and promote job placements, especially for the youth
  • Intensify the fight against fraud and corruption in local government and social fabric crimes in communities
  • Promote education as the apex priority in local communities.
  • Improve health in urban and rural communities
  • Help municipalities adapt to the changing climatic conditions.
  • Build spatially integrated communities
  • Promote nation-building and socially cohesive communities.

KZN Poverty Eradication Master Plan

KZN Poverty Eradication Master Plan is a programme adopted by KZN to ensure that government in partnership with all non-governmental partners work together to eradicate poverty through Operation Sukuma (bottom up approach). 

In the State of the Province Address, 26 June 2014 KZN Premier, honourable Mr Senzo Mchunu declared “poverty as public enemy number one” (State of the Nation Address, 2014:1). In this regard, KZN is committed in throwing full weight behind poverty eradication. The government seek to intensify its support to vulnerable groups, in particular mother and children; the disabled; communities on commercial farms and informal settlements. It is fully aligned to national and provincial imperative namely, NDP, PGDP and ruling party policy pronouncements (RDP, Ready to Govern, Mangaung Conference Resolution and Manifestos (2014).

Five strategic Game Changers and Core Delivery Plans with qualitative and quantitative imperatives and targeted milestone between 2014 to 2030 (and beyond) have been formulated, aligned to the PDGP interventions and targets; and assigned to PGDP workgroups in which COGTA is represented. 

The 5 Game Changers are as follows:

  • Agriculture: Fast track Festa Tlala; linking mechanisation entrepreneurship;  Commercialisation of livestock; Revitalisation of land reform farms; Promote Agric cooperatives; and Agribusiness Youth Empowerment
  • Enterprise Development : Waste management; Build KZN  Construction; Agri-food value chain;  Comprehensive Rural renewable energy; Business support programme; and Sand and stone mining
  • Employment Creation: Rural infrastructure development; Revamped EPWP; Rural Tourism; and Communal Milling Stations
  • Skills development: Early childhood development; Primary and Sec school education Improvement; Skills alignment -economic growth; Artisan development; Youth Skills development; and Life Long Learning
  • Social Protection:  Improving Child Health Outcomes; Improving access to quality education; Uplifting Living Standards; Food and Nutrition Security; Social security; and Community mobilisation and Development

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a comprehensive document which United Nations adopted in its aim to shift the world onto a path of inclusive and sustainable development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The objective of SDG is to provide a set of universally relevant and applicable goals that balance the dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social.

SDG 1: End Poverty, aims to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030 and ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services. The trial is South Africa cannot flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life, therefore, attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government. The Department’s (COGTA) strategic goal is to increase economic opportunities to foster economic wellbeing for all, through improving sectorial development and improving government job creation programs. 

SDG 5: Gender Equality call for an end to all forms of discrimination against women and children and ensuring that women fully participate and have equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life (social). In the efforts to address the issues of women’s exclusion, the Department provide municipalities with support to adopt and strengthen policies that empower women and promote gender equality. On an annual base the Department hosts a “Women in Dialogue Conference” which sets to empower women in leadership positions, Seniors Managers and Municipal Councillors.

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation stipulates to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, while substantially increasing water-use efficiency to address water scarcity and reduce the number of suffering from water scarcity.  With the country currently facing a serve water shortage problem (KwaZulu-Natal is critically affected), it is vital for COGTA to provide support and capacity to municipalities to strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water management. 

SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy by 2030, ensure universal access and affordable, reliable and modern energy services and expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services. The challenge is that Infrastructure is poorly located, inadequate and under-maintained.  In its efforts to combat the challenge of addressing the demands municipalities face to maintain and expand the delivery of basic services, COGTA, as a strategic objective, provides support to municipalities by expanding infrastructure (new), upgrade and maintain existing infrastructure  to raise the promotion and improving co-ordination of service delivery.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including youth and persons with disabilities and equal pay for pay for work of equal value. Promotion of development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are important for job creation. In the efforts to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality and achieve economic wellbeing there needs to be an enabling environment. Department create employment through Local Economic Development initiatives which includes: Community Work Programme (CWP) and Expanded Public Work Programme (EPWP).

SDG 9: Infrastructure, industrialization and innovation stipulate develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being with focus on affordable and equitable access for all and significantly increase to access information and communications technology. With KwaZulu-Natal positioning itself as a gateway to Africa and the world it is of imperative value that the province has reliable and sustainable infrastructure that will be facilitate economic development and allow for the establishment of transborder infrastructure and communications. In order to sustain economic activity in municipalities, the Department will support infrastructure management and the provision of new infrastructure.

SDG 10: Reduce Inequality within and amongst countries. Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard and ensure enhanced representation and voice for all in decision-making. The Department’s role in promoting equality is through facilitative and accountable governance that and supports municipalities to improve decision making through public participation. COGTA, through supporting municipalities to strengthen Inter-Governmental Relations, also reduces inequalities; IGR intends to meet the challenge of coherent and cooperative government in order to coordinate service delivery faster.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities relates to adequate access to safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade of slums, by 2030 and enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries. As well as, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management. The Department, through its planning and development programme provide support to improve municipal capacity for effective development planning and policy making aimed at creating and maintaining spatial norms and standards to densifying cities, locating jobs where people live, upgrading informal settlements, which will make for sustainable cities and communities and boost economic development locally.

SDG 13: Climate action: in the efforts to combat climate change and its impacts, focus must be given to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries, integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning and Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. In order to address climate change, it is important for the Department support and builds capacity of disaster risk and management at municipal levels, to support municipalities to proactively deal with disasters and climate change related incidents.

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions aims to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels, substantially reduce corruption and bribery, while ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels and promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development. COGTA’s function’s to coordinate and support municipalities to have functional governance structures which promote good governance as expressed through factors like reliability, certainty, accountability decision-making through citizen participation. The Department will make provision of support to the improvement of capacity for knowledge, resource allocation, implementation and maintenance for municipal officials to promote strong institutions and strengthen accountability of governance institutions

SDG 17: Strengthened partnerships for goals relates to strengthening of the means of implementation and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development through enhancement of policy coherence for sustainable development and encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships. In its aim to place build capable governance, the Department will continue to support municipalities for functionality to be able to deliver for sustainable development.

African Union Agenda 2063

The African Union Agenda is a “global strategy to optimise the use of Africa’s resources for the benefits of all Africans” (African Union Agenda 2063, 2015:1) It is a robust plan based on Pan Africanism and Renaissance with the intentions of addressing past injustice, learning from the lessons of the past At the same time build a bright future for the continent. AU commits itself to the Pan African vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic in the international arena” (African Union Agenda 2063, 2015:1).

Africa has a good identity, culture, heritage, strong values, global influence, and has a capacity to realise full potential in development, peace, prosperous societies if it works together. The AU Agenda then commits to the aspirations for an integrated and prosperous Africa:

  • A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development;
  • An integrated continent politically united based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance;
  • An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law;
  • A peaceful and secure Africa;
  • An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics;
  • An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children;
  • Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner

AU Agenda will only succeed if African resources to finance and accelerate transformation and integration are mobilized; leadership are transformed at all levels and in all fields; capable developmental states with the appropriate institutions, policies,  human resources, systems and processes; change in attitudes and mind sets to strengthen Pan African values of self-reliance, solidarity, hard work and collective prosperity and building on African successes, experiences and best practices; Africa’s take charge of narrative and brand, to ensure that it reflects continental realities, aspirations and priorities and Africa’s position in the world;  Agenda 2063 integrated into all national and regional development plans; national, regional and continental institutions are strengthened and transformed to effectively lead and drive the agenda for transformation and integration; and learn from the diverse, unique and shared experiences of various countries and regions as a basis of forging an African approach to transformation. 

The COGTA Strategic Goals and Objectives have been clearly aligned with the AU Agenda, and SDG goals.  Refer to Annexure D.

Back to Basics

The Back to Basics programme was launched with the theme of “Serving Our Communities Better”.  The Presidential Summit was held on the 18 September 2014, in which the President, outlined governments plan of action for the next 5 years which is to ensure a focused and strengthened local government by getting the basics right and together with other spheres of government , providing basic services efficiently and effectively and in a caring manner.

The 5 pillars of the programme have been outlined as:

  • Putting People First: Listening and communicate
  • Adequate and community orientated service provision
  • Good governance and transparent administration
  • Sound financial management and accounting
  • Robust institutions with skilled and capable staff

Changing strategic orientation will not be easy and it will require bold leadership and political will.  At the same time a collective effort and unity of purpose and partnership with leaders in local government, provinces and national government is required. There is a need to improve the political management of municipalities and be responsive to the needs and aspirations of local communities

The Back to Basics transformational agenda recognises that there are widely divergent levels of performance between different categories of municipalities – in terms of services, public engagement, good governance, financial management and technical capacity. The aim is to encourage all municipalities to become positively functional centres of good governance. There is also a need to set the proper standards for municipal performance.

  • Priority 1: For those municipalities in a dysfunctional state aim will be for them to perform at the very least the basic functions of local government. This will be done through enforcement of current policies and legislation, systematically managing performance and accountability, and ensuring that there are consequences for underperformance. Minimum performance requirements include ensuring the proper functioning of council structures and council processes, the provision of basic services, and the appointment of competent staff.
  • Priority 2: For those municipalities who are functional but are not doing enough in critical areas of service, they will be supported to progress to a higher path. Here the focus will be on building strong municipal administrative systems and processes, and ensuring that administrative positions are filled with competent and committed people whose performance is closely monitored. The oversight system for local government will be improved through creating real-time monitoring systems.  Measures will be taken to ensure that municipalities engage properly with their communities. 
  • Priority 3: Municipalities that are performing well will be incentivised by giving them greater flexibility and control over their resources and grants, and encouraging them to move beyond the basics and transform the local space economy and integrate and densify communities to improve sustainability.
  • Priority 4: There will be a target set and vigorous response to corruption and fraud, and a zero tolerance approach to ensure that these practices are rooted out. Supply chain management practices in municipalities will be closely scrutinized.

In November 2015, the next phase of Back to Basics was presented which prioritizes and focuses the programme in the pre and post-election period. This led to the adoption of the following Back to Basics 10 Point Plan:

  • Positive community experience
  • Municipalities receiving disclaimers over five years
  • Revenue enhancement programme
  • Appointment of Director in municipalities
  • Service and Infrastructure
  • Implementation of forensic reports
  • Metropolitan Back to Basic programme
  • Strengthening roles of district municipalities
  • Spatial regional integration zones/spatial contracts
  • Strengthen capacity and role of provincial COGTA Departments