The country's infrastructure is falling apart due to inadequate or no maintenance. Less than half of the country's municipalities have some kind of plan to maintain their infrastructure.
This is evident from answers provided by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), in response to the FF Plus's parliamentary questions about the matter. (Complete questions and responses are attached herewith.)
Among other things, the FF Plus asked the Minister how many municipalities in every province have infrastructure maintenance plans in place and how many of these plans are either fully or at least partially implemented.
The shocking answer was that only 45% of all the municipalities in South Africa have some kind of maintenance plan which covers all municipal services. Of the 45%, however, only 10% are fully implementing these plans.
In her response, the Minister refers to the 2018/19 report by the Auditor-General (AG), which states that 41% of the municipalities that were audited have no policy or plan for routine maintenance to water and sewage infrastructure, while 27% have no plan for the upkeep of road infrastructure.
The excuses that the Minister offered include a "struggle" to collect rates and taxes on local level due to "various reasons", like poor governance, poor socio-economic circumstances and a small tax base.
Furthermore, the response states that the Minister (of COGTA) and the Minister of Finance (Tito Mboweni) foresee that the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) will help solve the problems related to maintenance and the construction of new infrastructure.
The Minister also makes mention of various programmes aimed at training municipal workers and officials, like the Recognition of Prior Learning Programme (RPL).
The FF Plus is, however, sceptical about whether any plan or programme of the ANC government can successfully address problems in the country.
The culture of poor service delivery stands shoulder to shoulder with the culture of non-payment. This can only be reversed by getting rid of the ANC government.
The Minister's reply leaves no room for doubt about the fact that the country's infrastructure is collapsing on a large scale and that there is very little to no hope that things will improve soon.
The government needs to realise that communities are increasingly taking over the municipal responsibilities of service delivery and maintenance work and it is to be expected that municipal revenue will decrease accordingly.
Residents cannot be expected to pay for services that they do not get.