The Premier for Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, Mr Senzo Mchunu with the MEC for Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, Mrs Nomusa Dube-Ncube, on the 17 February 2015, launched a wide-ranging ‘Back to Basics’ programme aimed at restoring the spirit of effective service delivery, efficient administration and clean governance in the Province’s 61 municipalities.
Premier Mchunu called on councillors to focus on improving the lives of the people. “Each one of us must on continuous basis reflect whether or not in the daily execution of our duties as elected representatives and officials, we are improving the lives of the people. People are looking to us to make their lives better than when they were before each of us was elected into office,” said Premier Mchunu.
“People’s demands from municipalities have changed, are clearly pronounced and a very refined in their articulation. They are no longer looking for general statements around delivery of services. But they are looking for specifics, which are well articulated with clear timelines and expected level of quality. That is what back to basics mean. Therefore consistent communication with the people is important to keep them informed of what you are doing as municipalities.” continued Mchunu.
The MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, articulated the responsibility of local government in improving the lives of the people. “Too much has gone wrong with our municipalities: service delivery protests, interruptions in the delivery of water and electricity, political infighting, a sense of indifference and neglect,” said Dube-Ncube. “It is clear that somewhere along the way, we have lost the drive to do things as we should. It is high time to get back to basics and rekindle the spirit of service delivery we promised to our municipal residents when we introduced the current system of local government,” said Dube-Ncube.
The five pillars of the Back to Basics programme is to:
•Put the people and their concerns first and to ensure constant contact with communities through effective public participation platforms.
•Create conditions for decent living by consistently delivering municipal services to the right quality and standards.
•Be well governed and demonstrate good governance and administration by cutting wastage, spending public monies prudently, hiring competent staff, ensuring transparency and accountability.
•Ensure sound financial management and accounting and prudently manage resources so as to sustainably deliver services and bring development to communities.
•Build and maintain sound institutional and administrative capabilities, administered and managed by dedicated and skilled personnel at all levels.
“The Back to Basics programme does not derive from a sudden impulse to make a few cosmetic changes in our local government. It is a carefully and well-thought through and designed plan emanating from our fourteen years of experience in local government. We have learned many lessons and we are now building on this experience to make our local government work better for all our communities,” said Dube-Ncube. The mayors of KZN municipalities have pledged to support the programme by acknowledging that the province’s local government must enable better access to quality services, overcoming the legacy of apartheid, strengthening community participation, and building effective, accountable and clean local government.
There was a declaration of intent that was signed by Premier Mchunu, MEC Dube-Ncube and municipalities wherein they pledged to ensure that there is effective implementation of the back to basics programme.