President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged 2,000 delegates attending the annual conference of local government leaders to reaffirm their commitment to improving the living conditions of South Africans through what he called “developmental local government.”
Addressing the delegates on the final day of the two-day gathering in Boksburg, Gauteng province, on Wednesday, Ramaphosa called on mayors and their deputies to focus on solutions as they discuss ways to improve governance and administration to solve service delivery challenges.
The focus must be “more on outcomes and less on intent,” he said.
“We must bridge the divide between policy and implementation, between aspiration and results by focusing on what must be done first,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “Let us reaffirm our commitment to improving the living conditions of the people of South Africa through developmental local government.”
In order for the country to build ideal municipalities, Ramaphosa said there was need to address the instability within governance structures and processes of local government.
He bemoaned the political contestation and infighting that was wreaking havoc in municipalities, saying this must come to an end.
“We should once and for all end the hijacking of municipal councils and administrations for self-enrichment and personal gain,” he said.
He added: “Local government should employ people who are able to perform the functions they are responsible for – and should carry them out in an accountable, transparent, efficient, effective and responsive manner.”
Apart from the mayors and their deputies, there were also leaders from all spheres of government, legislature, business, academia, traditional leaders, civil society, women, youth and people with disabilities to deliberate on a collective programme of action for “an ideal municipality”.