News

The postponement of by-elections throughout the country will negatively affect the ability of political parties to campaign, a constitutional law expert said. Professor Marinus Wiechers said the Constitutional Court was the only organ that could give direction and clarity on the issue of elections following a ruling mandating the Independent Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to have addresses of voters on the roll. The IEC has since appealed to the Constitutional Court against an Electoral Court...
Read more here

Local government gets a healthy chunk of the budget, 9.1% (or R133-billion) of the total this year. Often the source of service delivery protests, some municipalities fail to provide such basics as water or electricity, and others still use the bucket system – and many are plagued by rampant corruption. This is the face of government for much of South Africa. This is what local government looks like. uMkhanyakude  The uMkhanyakude municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal was up in arms...
Read more here

A 10-year-old was killed while on her way to collect water for her family at a nearby dam. The Bhekuzulu Primary pupil was crossing the Hlobane / Melmoth Road, carrying a 5l bottle to collect water when she was run over by a motorist. A witness, who identified herself as Precious, said she could not hold back tears when she heard the mother of the child wailing in grief, “My child died for 5l of water!” This loss of an innocent life has brought home the crushing severity of the...
Read more here

Minister Pravin Gordhan has reduced the number of bulk infrastructure grants for municipalities and adjusted their requirements and formulae. Local authorities’ underspending on grant allocations necessitated a review of infrastructure grants, Mr Gordhan said in his budget speech. Conditional grants are contested and only the most compelling cases for infrastructure development usually qualify. However, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs has seen persistent...
Read more here

The government will allocate R409m to facilitate municipal boundary changes approved last year, which are due to take effect before the local government elections this year, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The election date has not yet been announced but is predicted to be hotly contested. The Independent Electoral Commission of SA is on the back foot after a court ruling against it last year relating to the fairness of an election and the departure under a cloud of its former chairwoman...
Read more here

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) finds itself in a legal bind that could result in local government elections being held as late as next year. On Tuesday night the commission announced the postponement of municipal by-elections in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, the North West and the Western Cape. This followed a decision by the Electoral Court to postpone by-elections in six of the seven wards that had been scheduled for a rerun in the North West’s Tlokwe municipality. The issue emanated...
Read more here

The Northern Cape provincial government says its housing backlog reduction is advancing well but it has to make sure that 32 municipalities pay the R300m electricity bill they owe to Eskom. Last Monday, the human settlements MEC, Alvin Botes, promised to build 2300 houses worth R100m for the population of the Northern Cape in this financial year. He has, however, not been able to turn around the situation at five of the worst municipalities in the province. His goal is to turn that around....
Read more here

Sixty-one local municipalities and four metros have carried their collective debt of more than R2.8bn — owed to nine water boards — into the new year. This has prompted the National Treasury into threatening to withhold the defaulting councils’ equitable share allocations. Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said in a written parliamentary response that Sedibeng Water was owed more than R1.9bn for services provided to municipalities in the North West, Free State...
Read more here

Newly appointed Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Desmond van Rooyen says he will push for more funds for the development and maintenance of infrastructure at municipalities, despite conditional grant allocations being neglected by councils. Mr Van Rooyen, a former mayor of Merafong City local municipality in North West Province, has been appointed to replace Pravin Gordhan, who returned to the finance portfolio on Sunday. Critics have highlighted Mr Van Rooyen’s...
Read more here

Seven years after building started, Butterworth’s R9 million swimming pool is still not finished. Andile Nduna, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, said the pool would only be opened in December 2016. Residents said they had lost hope that it would ever be finished. The pool is in Extension 2, a few kilometres from the town centre. It is surrounded by old sheets of corrugated iron. The fence has been vandalised or stolen. Inside, small...
Read more here