Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs  Des Van Rooyen says there is a need of strengthening the capacity of local municipalities to deliver basic services to the residents. Addressing local government stakeholders at Mahikeng in the North West, Van Rooyen raised his concern about what he says is an on-going problem of governance and a lack of political will among the leadership of some municipalities.

Van Rooyen’s engagement with all stakeholders in the local government sector was part of his ministry’s assessment in progress on the back to basics programme in municipalities. So far he has visited the Free State and Northern Cape. The North West was the third to be visited.  The minister  has acknowledged that in all the provinces he has visited so far, there are common problems facing municipalities.

In the North West, which consists of 22 municipalities, Van Rooyen says half of them need urgent intervention.

“There is an issue on governance but also we have picked up that there is also an issue of lack of proper consequence management provision, and thirdly we have also identified that there is lack of political will among the leadership of these municipalities to give effect to some of the recommendations that are coming out of our interventions.”

What seems to be a serious problem, is the inability by the district municipalities to assist local municipalities in ensuring the provision of water services to the communities. Minister Van Rooyen says this is a matter of concern to them.

“We have also realised that the district municipalities have not been that necessarily hands on to support individual municipalities. So we have emphasised on the need to resuscitating our inter governmental relation framework forums at the district level and we will be assigning our officials to sit on those forums. We think those forums will assist us also to monitor the implementation of these intervention plans but also recovery plan that are going to be developed for these individual municipalities.”

The Tswaing Local Municipality which include Delareyville, is one of the worst affected. It falls under the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality. A few weeks ago the community embarked on violent protests, demanding water. They alleged that they have been without water for over five years.

North West MEC for Local Government, Fenny Gaolaolwe, has acknowledged that Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality is leading in failing to assist local municipalities in the provision of water services. “The district does not assist the locals in providing water to the communities but as the province we have taken a resolution that those local municipalities that falls within Ngaka Modiri Molema, we are busy trying to assist them to be water service authorities. We are aware that Ngaka Modiri Molema is not doing very well but right now we are busy trying to intervene.”

Meanwhile, other municipalities that fall under Ngaka Modiri Molema district,  also have water challenges. These include Mahikeng, Ratlou in Setlagole, Ramotshere Moiloa in Zeerust and Ditsobotla in Lichtenburg.