PARTY

We do deliver for all, and here's the proof - DA

Party sets out the track record of six municipalities it controlled since 2006

Democratic Alliance, Track Record of Delivery for All, Implementing the Open Opportunity Society for All through Local Government, May 4 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In March 2011, the Democratic Alliance (DA) released a seminal discussion document entitled "The Cape Town Story". In it, we outlined how, since winning a tight election race in 2006, the DA administration in Cape Town has rolled out basic services and infrastructure, clamped down on crime and corruption, delivered clean, transparent and financially accountable government, and advanced our vision of an Open, Opportunity Society for All. Today, we would like to share another story: how the many other municipalities that we govern across South Africa are achieving the same set of outcomes.

By some estimates, 60% of South African municipalities are dysfunctional, unable to perform their basic functions, let alone deliver on the promise of 1994.[1] As the coalface of government, responsible for the delivery of basic services and the fulfilment of critical infrastructure delivery and administrative functions, municipal government is central to our country's future prospects. If it fails, we cannot make our country better.

Municipal government, it is sometimes said, is not "rocket science". But as with a space mission, success comes only at the end of an unbroken chain of events; break any single link in the chain and the venture veers off course. This, regrettably, is the reality facing far too many South African municipalities.

Resolving this tragic failure of government must be one of our major national priorities. Without doing so, we cannot build stronger, safer, more prosperous communities, and, ultimately, we cannot create a society in which everyone has the opportunities to make of their lives what they wish.

If attending to the shortcomings of municipal governance in South Africa is important, then this has two further implications:

First, it means that voting on Election Day carries special responsibilities. With our votes, we should remove failed administrations from office, and elect those with a proven record of delivery to take their place.

Secondly, and stemming from the first consideration, we need to carefully assess the different records of political parties and public officeholders - scrutinising performance across a range of variables, like service and infrastructure delivery, openness and transparency, financial accountability and efficacy, and commitment to the principles we hold dear.

In South Africa, the context of up-coming Local Government Elections accentuates the first of these imperatives. In mid-2011, South Africans have the opportunity to collectively say ‘no' to bad government, and vote for positive change. The second matter is addressed in this document, and the others like it, in which we have set out our policy record.

Since releasing the Cape Town Story, we have been encouraged by the response of many South Africans - from civil society organisations and politicians, to ordinary South Africans from all parts of the political spectrum.

Some have engaged with us on issues; others have commended us. With each reply, positive or negative, we are moving South Africa's political discourse forward, by making issues the issue. That is what we again strive to do in our release of this document, and we invite other political parties to join the issues debate - to scrutinise our record, and to set out their own performance in similarly fine detail.

South Africans deserve nothing less.

Over the last decade, the number of municipalities governed by the DA has steadily grown. Along the way, there have been bumps in the road. Nowhere have we achieved a perfect record in every category of governance and delivery. We certainly do not claim to have done so. What is particular to the Democratic Alliance's record, however, is that in every area where municipal governments are regressing in South Africa, the DA is making progress. In benchmarks of delivery, of accountability, and of end result, the DA is doing something that no other political party has ever done in South Africa: consistently deliver on its mandate for all the people.

This is a story that has been recounted previously in dribs and drabs, but never in a consolidated fashion, and never in a manner that demonstrates, comparatively, the extent of progress in DA administrations. It is a story we would like to share with you.

This document recounts the DA's performance in six local government municipalities. Although these are not the only municipalities we govern in South Africa, they are the administrations that we have governed long enough to have begun to implement our policies, and see tangible results. The municipalities apply the same local governance model, based on the concept of the Open, Opportunity Society for All. However, they deliver local solutions to local problems, by decentralising government and advancing local autonomy. In doing so, they help to build municipalities that are not just people-centred in their remit, but that actually place people in charge of government.

Our municipalities also share a record of delivery in common: each recognises the need to deliver subsidised services to the poor while simultaneously creating an enabling environment for local business and investment. Sometimes these goals are complementary; other times, their achievement requires something of a balancing act. The key to getting it right is appropriate policy choices implemented and administered with maximum efficiency, openness, accountability and regard to local circumstances.

In each case study, the data shows that DA municipalities are considerably more efficient, and have much greater development impact, than non-DA municipalities. They get the basics right. They deal with distinctively local issues, respond to the needs and opinions of local citizens, consult widely, prioritise spending appropriately, collect monies owed, and address problems like corruption. They avoid wasting money on excessive staff, deployees, Mercedes-Benzes or ill-considered prestige projects. They employ people who can do the job.

They tap into the many sources of central government funding available for local development, because they have recognised that the fundamental problem in municipal government is rarely a shortage of money. They sweat the small stuff, like litter, potholes and noise, and have shown that where this is done properly, the big stuff is much easier to address.

Most crucially, they are the most effective municipalities when it comes to delivering to the poor. They are refuting the idea that the socioeconomic legacies of Apartheid need to define our country into the future. In doing so, they are helping to create the enabling environment that will lead our country onto a path to development, job creation and prosperity.

THE DA'S MUNICIPALITIES

At any given point in time over the last five years, the Democratic Alliance has governed and co-governed in the region of a dozen municipalities in South Africa (the number fluctuates, because of the frequency of by-elections, and the delicate balance of power in many tightly contested municipalities). These municipalities include one Metropolitan Municipality, the City of Cape Town, the account of which is captured in another document, "The Cape Town Story".

One, the West Coast District Municipality, is a Category A Municipality, while the rest are Category B, or Local, municipalities. Some of these are coalition councils in which the DA's impact has been adulterated by the compromises of coalition politics; others have only come over the DA comparatively recently. Only six have had majority DA councils for most of the last five years. These can be considered ‘consolidated DA municipalities'; they are places where the DA's model of local governance has been given an opportunity to work, and they form the major focus of this document.

Of the consolidated municipalities, one is in the Eastern Cape:

Baviaans local municipality is located in the furthest west region of the province, in the Cacadu District Municipality, and has a population of 17,000. The DA won the municipality from the ANC in 2006. The seat is in Willowmore.

Another consolidated municipality is in Gauteng:

Midvaal local municipality is located in the Sedibeng District Municipality. It has a population of 83,440, and has been governed by the DA since 2000. The seat is in Meyerton.

Finally, four consolidated DA municipalities are to be found in the Western Cape:

Mossel Bay local municipality is located in the Eden District Municipality, and has a population of 71,500. It has been governed outright by the DA since 2007, after being governed briefly by a DA/ICOSA coalition for a year, following the 2006 municipal elections, where the municipality was won over from the ANC. The seat is in Mossel Bay.

Overstrand local municipality is located in the Overberg District Municipality, and has a population of 74,500. The DA won the municipality in 2006 from the ANC. The seat is in Hermanus.

Swartland local municipality is located in the West Coast District Municipality, and has a population of 72,100. The DA has governed there since 2000. The seat is in Malmesbury.

Finally, Theewaterskloof local municipality is situated in the Overberg District Municipality. It has a population of 93,000, and the municipal seat is in Caledon. The DA has governed Theewaterskloof since 2006 - initially, for a very brief time, in coalition, and then outright.

Each of these municipalities has a unique story to tell of the difference that DA governance makes.

THE STORY OF SIX MUNICIPALITIES

1. BAVIAANS

Baviaans, in the Cacadu District, in the far west of the Eastern Cape, is the only DA-controlled municipality in that province. It is a small municipality with only about 4, 000 households, and, due to historically high levels of poverty, and the municipality's relatively remote, rural setting, it has faced a high development backlog.

In late 2005, under the previous administration, Baviaans could not afford to pay its own employees. Rates collection stood at 37% and the council had to borrow from the Cacadu District Council to meet its salary obligations. When the DA council was elected in early 2006, it needed to stabilise this situation. Over two years, it reduced debt from an unsustainable R11m to a manageable R4m.[2] Through collection enforcement in combination with an extended indigents policy, rates payments climbed steadily.[3]

The last five years have seen a jump in the capacity and efficiency of the Baviaans Municipality, and, as a result, a corresponding increase in the delivery of services and infrastructure. Fifteen percent of the municipality's population has been housed under the DA's administration, through the building of 590 houses, leaving a negligible backlog.[4] In 2009, Baviaans was the top ranked municipality in South Africa for the percentage of households living in formal dwellings (99.2%).[5]

Baviaans has also almost entirely eradicated the bucket system by rolling out sanitation services on a massive scale. In 2001, 41% of residents did not have RDP-standard sanitation; the figure today stands at 3%.[6]

These achievements have now been officially recognised. In 2011 Baviaans received two of the Vuna Awards given for the Eastern Cape: Best Performance in Revenue Collection; and Excellent Performance for Service Delivery.[7] The municipality has demonstrated that efficiency is directly linked to delivery.

KEY FACTS: BAVIAANS:

  • The DA's administration has overseen the construction of 590 houses, leaving a negligible backlog. In 2009, Baviaans was the top ranked municipality in South Africa for the percentage of households living in formal dwellings (99.2%).[8]
  • Despite the poverty of its residents, in water and sanitation, Baviaans has almost entirely eradicated the bucket system.[9]
  • Baviaans has accessed Eskom grants to install solar panels on 1,100 houses in Steytlerville and 600 houses in Willowmore.[10]
  • The DA council has reduced debt from an unsustainable R11m in 2005/06 to a manageable R4m today. In 2005/6, rates collection was a dismal 37% and the council had to borrow from the Cacadu District Council to meet its salary obligations. Under the DA rates collection has recovered to 100%.[11]
  • Baviaans delivers free basic services to the 60% of households classified as indigent (2,400 out of the municipality's 4,000 households). An independent 2010 survey found that approval of the indigent support system, among poorer citizens, was between 95 and 100% in Willowmore and Steytlerville.[12]
  • Baviaans has used its EPWP grant to employ 120 residents for municipal improvements, including laying paving. In 2010/11, a total of 1,071 casual workers were employed. The Eastern Cape provincial government has congratulated Baviaans on having the most successful EPWP in the province.[13]
  • The implementation of the EPWP is accompanied by skills development. 503 individuals completed certification programmes in 2010/11 in fields such as computer literacy, first aid, tractor operating, herbicides for alien plants and dismantling of automotive components.[14]
  • The Baviaans municipality spent R29,000 on library books in 2010/11, even though this is a provincial responsibility. It opened a new library in Zaaimanshoek, Baviaanskloof.[15]
  • Baviaans has established a help desk to answer queries about who qualifies for RDP housing, where individuals are on the waiting list and so on. This follows the establishment of a Client Services help desk, in 2010, to answer general queries.
  • In 2011 Baviaans received two of the six Vuna Awards given for the Eastern Cape: Best Performance in Revenue Collection; and Excellent Performance for Service Delivery.[16]

2. MIDVAAL

The Midvaal municipality, located in the Sedibeng District in Southern Gauteng, has been governed by the DA for the last decade. The municipality has enjoyed eight unqualified audits from the Auditor-General and, in 2010, in a provincial Quality of Life survey conducted by the Gauteng City Regional Observatory, Midvaal was ranked first by some margin. It was the only municipality in the province where more than half of all residents reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their local government.[17]

Midvaal is also the only municipality in Gauteng with a revenue collection rate of 100%, which means that the administration is better placed to be able to deliver services and infrastructure to its poorest residents.[18]

The DA-governed Midvaal municipality has focused on getting the basics right - like delivering clean water, picking up refuse, making sure streetlights work, providing proper street signage, and so on. Once the basics are taken care of, other things become possible. In development, the municipality is not only able to provide the four basics - water, sanitation, electricity and refuse collection - but also a higher level of community services. It not only runs but actively manages three clinics in the area and has built two state-of-the-art libraries in poor parts of Midvaal. The Sicelo Multipurpose Centre is a complex of sports and community facilities built in the largest informal township by the municipality.

Efficient administration leads to a further dividend: investment. Midvaal has attracted some of the most significant investments in Gauteng in recent years, including the new R3,5bn Heineken factory and the Ferrero Rocher plant, as well as other smaller firms.[19] The upshot is that job creation in the municipality is on the rise. Midvaal presently has the lowest unemployment rates in the whole of Gauteng.[20]

KEY FACTS: MIDVAAL:

  • This year, Midvaal received its eighth unqualified audit from the Auditor-General indicating clean and efficient financial management.[21]
  • Municipal IQ last year ranked Midvaal in the top 10% of municipalities in the country.[22]
  • In 2010, Midvaal was ranked number one in Gauteng in a government-backed ‘Quality of Life Survey.' It was the only municipality in Gauteng where more than half of all residents reported they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their local government.[23]
  • Midvaal has attracted billions of rands worth of job-creating foreign and local investment. This includes Heineken which has set up its national head office there.[24]
  • Midvaal was this year rated first in the Sedibeng district for job creation, crime-fighting and attracting local and foreign investment at the annual Professional Management Review-Africa awards.[25]
  • Last year the municipality started the Midvaal Youth Leadership Programme which teaches unemployed young people life skills, how to start a business, computer skills, HIV/Aids awareness and treatment, as well as leadership.[26]
  • Midvaal has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Gauteng (26%).[27]
  • Midvaal is the only municipality in Gauteng with a revenue collection rate of 100%.
  • The municipality's indigent policy is assisting 3,015 households with subsidised water and electricity.[28]
  • Crime figures in the Meyerton CBD have dropped by 70% over the past four years due to Midvaal Local Municipality's installation of a closed circuit security camera system.[29]
  • Last year, Midvaal built state-of-the-art libraries in Daleside and Sicelo where residents have access to reading material and the internet free of charge.[30]
  • The Midvaal Clinic serves 30 000 people with a turn-around time of two hours per patient (compared to the Gauteng provincial average of three hours).[31]
  • People who live too far away from established clinics are served by the mobile clinic launched last year to reach vulnerable patients, most of whom live in informal settlements.[32]
  • Midvaal has built the Sicelo Multipurpose Centre which includes a children's playground, a soccer field, tennis court, netball court, soccer pavilion, ablution facilities and a guard house with full-time security.[33]
  • To improve water infrastructure and supply, as well as to provide drinkable tap water to residents, Midvaal has built the new Vaal Marina and Klipriver reservoirs.[34]
  • This year the Midvaal Local Municipality will start construction on the new Vaal Marina Fire Station.[35]
  • Midvaal was on the list of the 58 Best Performing municipalities in South Africa in CoGTA's 2009 State of Local Government in South Africa report.[36]

3. MOSSEL BAY

With thriving gas and tourism industries, Mossel Bay has boomed in recent years, enjoying a growth rate of over 7% per annum.[37] Under the DA, the municipality has focused on four areas: providing and maintaining infrastructure, keeping rates and charges at reasonable levels, encouraging investors and rolling out services.

In a remarkable display of prudence, by South African standards, Mossel Bay uses no external loans to fund its projects.[38] Revenue collection is above 95% and the municipality manages to spend almost 20% of its budget on infrastructure.[39] Infrastructure spend is intimately linked to growth and it is in this respect that the municipality has played such a critical role in facilitating economic opportunity.

The DA administration has placed considerable emphasis on appointing adequately qualified and experienced people. Under the previous municipal regime, poor appointments had seen fiscal stability rapidly eroded. In two years under the ANC, between 2004 and 2006, revenue collection fell, staff costs soared, credit control started to fail and plans for things like GAP Housing (i.e. housing for those who do not qualify for state subsidies and yet cannot access bank finance) had to be shelved.[40] These problems have been rapidly rectified.

Mossel Bay has little unemployment and, as a result, very low crime rates. In 2007, it was the most crime-free municipality in South Africa. Between August 2006 and July 2007, there were no murders, hi-jackings or business robberies in the town.[41] Mossel Bay won the national Cleanest Town Award in 2008.[42]

KEY FACTS: MOSSEL BAY:

  • This year, Mossel Bay Municipality received its fourth consecutive unqualified audit from The Auditor-General.[43]
  • Mossel Bay has enjoyed a growth rate of over 7% per annum in recent years.[44]
  • Mossel Bay uses no external loans to fund its projects.[45]
  • A 300ha municipal nature reserve, Oyster Bay, is intended to showcase biodiversity. It was opened to the public in November 2010.
  • In Mossel Bay, revenue collection is above 95%, up from 70% under ANC administration in 2005. The municipality manages to spend almost 20% of its budget on infrastructure.[46]
  • Mossel Bay has survived the severe drought conditions of the past two years (the worst in 132 years) through tight water management. Among other things it has imposed an extraordinary one-off water tariff increase of properties of 10 units and more (which affects especially holiday complexes), thereby demonstrating a capacity to take unpopular yet necessary decisions.
  • The municipality retained its Blue Flag status for Santos and Hartenbos beaches. The 98% awarded for the ablution facilities at Santos beach is the highest mark ever awarded by the Blue Flag organization in South Africa.
  • In 2007, Mossel Bay was the most crime-free municipality in South Africa. Between August 2006 and July 2007, there were no murders, hi-jackings or business robberies in the town.[47]
  • In 2010 Mossel Bay completed the electrification dwellings in the Asazani/Izinyoka informal settlement. 20 local residents received training during the project.[48]
  • Mossel Bay won the national Cleanest Town Award in 2008.[49] 
  • Mossel Bay has accessed an Eskom grant to install solar heating in 800 poor households.[50]
  • Mossel Bay received the Department of Water Affairs National Improvement Excellence Award for 2010 a reflection of success in its programme to achieve Blue Drop certification. In the Blue Drop classification, Mossel Bay achieved 84,5%, up from the 50,8% the previous year.
  • In 2009, Mossel Bay was placed sixth nationally, among Category B municipalities, in the Empowerdex Basic Service Delivery index.[51]
  • Mossel Bay was on the list of the 58 Best Performing municipalities in South Africa in CoGTA's 2009 State of Local Government in South Africa report.[52]

4. OVERSTRAND

With its administration based in Hermanus, the DA's Overstrand administration runs an environmentally sensitive, tourist based area, with approximately 200km of coastline. The progress made by the DA council, in office since 2006, is considerable.

Efficient financial management has provided the basis for delivery. Overstrand has more than doubled the size of its capital budget since 2006 and used this to address development backlogs. It has, for instance, built 16 community halls in disadvantaged areas.[53] Every year, R20m is spent on the resealing of roads.[54] On all capital projects since 2006, Overstrand has spent R740m.[55] At the same time staffing costs have been reduced from 36% of the total budget in 2006 to 26% in 2011.[56]

Overstrand is notably open and consultative in municipal governance. The municipality has a fully functioning ward system and each ward committee is allocated R500,000 per annum, irrespective of political affiliation. The Ward Committees are active in the compilation of the municipality's Integrated Development Plan (IDP); they sit regularly, and send delegates to the quarterly meetings of the Overstrand Municipal Advice Forum.[57] All municipal committees are open to the public; there has never been a closed meeting.[58]

Overstrand has put a great deal of time and effort into putting the right policies in place. This is another critical building block and one that stands alongside qualified, experienced people and administrative continuity. It is only within such a context that officials are able to function properly. The municipality's policy statements have been extensively work-shopped with staff to ensure that they become embedded in the way Overstrand does business.[59]

Overstrand won the national Cleanest Town Award in 2007 and 2008.[60] It was the national winner of the Vuna award for category B municipalities in 2006.[61]

KEY FACTS: OVERSTRAND:

  • On all capital projects since 2006, Overstrand has spent R740m, more than half of which has come from own funds. Overstrand has more than doubled the size of its capital budget since 2006 and used this to address development backlogs.[62]
  • The Overstrand Municipality has, under the DA, never had a committee meeting that was closed to the public.[63]
  • Overstrand won the South African Housing Foundation: Local Authority of the Year 2010: In recognition for providing the local community with affordable, good quality, environmentally friendly housing and services under adverse conditions, as well as for harnessing local labour and resources, completing projects within time and budget.
  • R20m/annum is spent on road maintenance including resealing.[64]
  • Overstrand Municipality has a fully functioning ward system and each ward committee is allocated R500, 000 per annum, irrespective of political affiliation. The Ward Committees are active in the compilation of the municipality's Integrated Development Plan (IDP); they sit regularly, and send delegates to the quarterly meetings of the Overstrand Municipal Advice Forum.
  • Overstrand won the national Cleanest Town Award in 2007. In 2010 it was the Western Cape winner of the same competition.[65]
  • In 2006 Overstrand was the national winner of the Vuna award for category B municipalities.[66]
  • The Hermanus Market Square project won the Concrete Manufacturer's Associations Coastal Regional Award (October 2010) and the National Award (November 2010) for Excellence in the category "Concrete Paving Blocks: Roads".
  • Under the DA, since 2006, Overstrand Municipality's staffing costs have been reduced from 36% of the total budget in 2006 to 26% in 2011.[67]
  • The administration has built 16 community halls and built an Olympic size swimming pool in a disadvantaged area (Mt Pleasant).[68]
  • Overstrand was on the list of the 58 Best Performing municipalities in South Africa in CoGTA's 2009 State of Local Government in South Africa report.[69]
  • Overstrand has created a direct marketing organisation to support the local tourism industry.
  • Overstrand has work-shopped and put in place policies in areas such as an integrated refuse disposal plan, a water services development plan, a disaster management plan and an integrated transport plan.
  • Overstrand Municipality is one of two African municipalities that signed up for the United Nations' World Disaster Reduction Campaign, and to commit itself to a ten point checklist on essentials to make itself more resilient against natural disasters.
  • In 2010 Overstand Municipality finished a major relief road, designed to ease traffic congestion in Hermanus, built at a cost of R22m.[70]

5. SWARTLAND

Like Midvaal, Swartland has had an uninterrupted 10-year period of DA governance. Its record stands as testimony to the difference that the DA can make.

In 2007, it was the national winner of Vuna Award for Category B municipalities - in other words, it was ranked by the ANC-run national government's awards programme, as the best municipality in South Africa. It also won the national Cleanest Town award in 2007 and 2008.

The extension of services to the poor in the Swartland municipal area has been comprehensive. According to the Consolidated Annual Municipal Performance Report for the Western Cape in 2008/09, Swartland's delivery of water, electricity and refuse removal is indexed at 100%.[71] It has spent R100m on its poorest ward, Ward 7, which includes the settlement of Chatsworth.[72]

Swartland's efficiency has seen it at the forefront of much innovation in local government. It was one of the first South African municipalities to have an indigent policy in place. It has its own municipal police force,[73] the only municipality outside the metros that can make this claim, and one of the lowest crime rates in the country.[74] By arrangement with the national government, offenders found guilty of minor offences have the option of community service, which helps to lower recidivism rates and develop skills. Swartland's policy of recycling refuse on site puts in place a system that is considered to be nationally feasible only by 2024.[75] It provides not just an environmental spin-off, but also a mode of job creation.

Under the DA administration, 3,820 housing units have been constructed at a cost of R118m.[76] Swartland municipality has also maintained 350km of serviced (i.e. tar) roads and is currently engaged in tarring its gravel roads at a rate of 7-8kms/year.[77] The tightness of its financial administration is illustrated by the fact that it is the only town in South Africa with a five-year rolling budget (as opposed to the standard three-year cycle).[78] For the last decade, rates collection has averaged 100%.[79]

KEY FACTS: SWARTLAND:

  • In 2007 Swartland was the national winner of South Africa's most prestigious local government awards, the national Vuna Award for Municipal Service excellence, for category B municipalities. Swartland also received a national Vuna award for Local Economic Development in 2006. And Swartland has won the national Cleanest Town award twice, in 2007 and 2008.
  • Swartland municipality has maintained 350km of serviced (i.e. tar) roads and is currently engaged in tarring its gravel roads at a rate of 7-8kms/year.[80]
  •  Swartland is the only town in South Africa with a 5-year rolling budget (as opposed to the standard 3-year cycle).[81]
  • For the last decade, Swartland's rates collection has been between 97% and 103% - averaging 100%.[82]
  • According to the Consolidated Annual Municipal Performance Report for the Western Cape in 2008/09, Swartland achieved 100% coverage for delivery of water, electricity and refuse removal.[83]
  • Swartland has spent R100m on its poorest ward (Ward 7) which includes the settlement of Chatsworth.[84]
  • Prior to 2000, 2, 601 low-cost houses were constructed in the Swartland municipal area at a cost of R44,4m. Since 2000, under the DA, 3,820 units have been constructed at a cost of R118m.[85]
  • Swartland has never had a bank overdraft and has financed capital projects mostly out of own funds. It was also one of the first South African municipalities to have an indigents policy in place.
  • Swartland has its own municipal police force, the only municipality outside the Metros that can make this claim, and one of the lowest crime rates in the country. By arrangement with the Departments of Justice and Community Service, those found guilty of minor offences have the option of community service which both rehabilitates and offers them the chance to acquire skills.[86]
  • Swartland has become one of the first rural municipalities to erect an ecologically-friendly membrane system sewerage plant, at a cost of R120m. The municipality's policy of recycling refuse on site also provides not just an environmental spin-off but also a source of employment.[87]

6. THEEWATERSKLOOF

The Theewaterskloof municipality represents possible the most dramatic turnaround of all municipalities the DA has won from other parties. Historically, it has faced an indigency rate of nearly 50%, and large in-migration.[88] The population of Grabouw, for instance, has trebled in 14 years, from 17,000 in 1997, to about 54,000 in 2011. This adds an extra layer of complexity to meeting developmental goals.

In 2005, Theewaterskloof was incapable of dealing with high levels of poverty and the needs of the community. It was a Project Consolidate municipality, which meant that it was unable to function without the assistance of other spheres of government.[89] Fully one-third of rates owed were not collected, and the municipality appeared incapable of accessing developmental grants.[90]

By 2010, the backlog in water supply in the municipality had been reduced from 10% to zero. Ward 8 in Grabouw had received an award for the best housing settlement built in South Africa, and Theewaterskloof had won the African Access award for service delivery.

Efficiency was facilitated by decentralising service delivery functions, with a town manager based in each urban node. This was necessary because the mountainous terrain rendered a centralised model ineffective. Like other DA municipalities, the primary emphasis was on getting the small details right - delivering basic services and cleaning the urban nodes. With green tourism as its obvious future growth path, it has developed this sector using national partners.

The Theewaterskloof municipality actively pursues non-partisanship in service delivery. It insists that its job is to provide "government for all" and treats local opposition parties as "partners" in the process.

KEY FACTS: THEEWATERSKLOOF:

  • In 2005 Theewaterskloof was a Project Consolidate municipality, and faced a seemingly irreversible decline. By 2010, it had won the African Access award for service delivery.[91]
  • Theewaterskloof's Ward 8 in Grabouw received awards for the best housing settlement built in South Africa (African Access 2010).[92]
  • The backlog in water supply, to at least RDP standards, had been reduced from 10% of households in 2001 to zero in 2010/11.
  • Theewaterskloof has increased rates payments from 64% in 2005/06 to 100% today.[93]
  • In 2006 Theewaterskloof had no municipal manager and vacancies in several other key positions. Administration was over-centralised in Caledon. It did not have the capacity to facilitate the compilation of an IDP. The service delivery system has been decentralised to the municipality's constituent towns.[94]
  • Theewaterkloof was awarded a Blue Drop status for water quality in 2010.
  • In 2005/6 Theewaterskloof received five audit qualifications. This was reduced to one in 2006/07 and since then, the last four audits have been unqualified.

GETTING THE BASICS OF DELIVERY RIGHT

The DA's municipalities get the basics right. They deal with distinctively local issues, respond to the needs and opinions of local citizens, consult widely, prioritise spending appropriately, collect monies owed and crack down on corruption. They do not waste money on excessive staff, deployees, Mercedes-Benzes or ill-considered prestige projects. They employ people who can do the job. They tap into the many sources of central government funding available for local development, because problems generally derive not from lack of adequate funding, but capacity to access and spend those funds available. They sweat the small stuff, like litter, potholes and noise, and have shown that where this is done properly, the big stuff is much easier to handle. Last but not least, they are the most effective municipalities when it comes to delivering to the poor. More on this in a moment.

What these municipalities have in common is a set of principles, ideas and practices that has set them apart from other municipalities in South Africa. It is important to remember too that their pioneering role has also been a learning experience and that this learning is now available to any future DA municipalities.

Of particular significance is the fact that many of our municipalities have been recognised by formal quantitative and qualitative assessments carried out by the ANC-run national government. The reason these surveys are significant is patent: if even government departments administered by those across the political aisle give us the thumbs up, that is perhaps the most clear-cut sign of our success available.

Despite representing a small portion of the country's local municipalities, DA municipalities have won a number of significant national awards. The flagship national Vuna Award for governance and service delivery, adjudicated by the Department of Cooperative Governance, has repeatedly been awarded to DA municipalities. The Cleanest Town Award, administered by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism from 2001 to 2008, has been awarded repeatedly to the party's administrations. Equally significantly, a 2009 report published by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs included a list of the top performing municipalities in the country.[95] The list included five of the six Consolidated DA Municipalities -- Midvaal, Swartland, Theewaterskloof, Overstrand and Mossel Bay.

The DA's performance in delivering basic services is amply illustrated by its record in the areas of water supply and sanitation. Consider the record of DA-governed municipalities in addressing water supply backlogs:

WATER SUPPLY (Households)[96]

 

2001

2010

 

Access below RDP

Percentage backlog

Access below RDP

Percentage backlog

EC 107 Baviaans

315

8%

0

0%

GT422 Midvaal

2,905

14%

0

0%

WC043 Mossel Bay

1, 074

5%

338

2%

WC032 Overstrand

857

4%

0

0%

WC015 Swartland

1,210

7%

217

1%

WC031 Theewaterskloof

2,478

10%

0

0%

Of the 360,000 households in South Africa that do not have at least RDP level access to water, a mere 555 are found in the six Consolidated DA municipalities. The outlook is overwhelmingly more positive for each of these municipalities than it was when the DA first came into office. The effect of a full ten year term in Midvaal and Swartland is particularly pronounced.

The DA's record in delivering basic sanitation is also significant. Consolidated DA municipalities have reduced their average backlog by three-quarters, from 12,5% in 2001 to 3% in 2010. Nationally, however, 20% of households still do not have access to basic sanitation:

SANITATION (Households)[97]

 

2001

2010

 

Access below RDP

Percentage backlog

Access below RDP

Percentage backlog

EC 107 Baviaans

1,659

41%

13

3%*

GT422 Midvaal

5,987

29%

413

2%

WC043 Mossel Bay

1,572

7%

1,280

5%

WC032 Overstrand

1,588

8%

153

1%

WC015 Swartland

2,234

12%

1,216

6%**

WC031 Theewaterskloof

4,358

18%

2,828

0%

* Bucket system still used on a few farms

**To be upgraded from septic tanks

A similar direction is apparent in the figures for housing delivery, electricity provision and refuse collection. Unfortunately, comprehensive comparative sets are not available for all these categories across the country, as a consequence of the way statistics are tracked. Thus while it is possible to say that Midvaal, Swartland and Theewaterskloof are among the minority of South African municipalities that collect refuse from every household at least once a week, we are not in a position to compare with a national average.

Likewise, in electricity provision, Swartland provides power to every household within its jurisdiction, which includes all the urban nodes in its area, and is agitating to take control of Eskom's less efficient operations in more rural parts. But it is not possible to compare this performance across all 231 Category B municipalities in South Africa.

In provision of houses, the 2009 Empowerdex Service Delivery Index shows Baviaans to have succeeded better than any other municipality in South Africa.[98] The survey shows 99.2% of its residents now live in formal buildings and a full 15% of residents have been housed under DA administration. The same index shows that in the worst South African municipalities, de-housing is happening at a frightening rate, with 30% fewer households living in formal housing in the worst instance.[99] In a similar vein, the awards received by Theewaterskloof speak volumes, especially for that municipality's ability to deliver consistently to residents, particularly in light of high levels of in-migration. But in the absence of adequate national data, which is presented per province rather than by municipality, render the evidence anecdotal, not systematic.

What is perhaps more important, however, is that the information that is available shows that the Democratic Alliance cares about delivering to all South Africans. It shows that under DA administrations, the standards of service and infrastructure delivery in communities improve steadily. While our record isn't perfect, we have achieved something that fundamentally separates us from every other political party in the country: we have consistently proven that the socioeconomic legacies of Apartheid can be rectified.

The point is made even more clear when turning to the DA's record in spending Municipal Infrastructure Grants (MIGs). These grants are specifically ring-fenced for the purpose of addressing infrastructure problems facing poor communities. But they can only be accessed and spent by efficient, capable and pro-poor municipalities.

The DA's record in this regard stands in stark contrast with the rest of the country:

MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE GRANTS (MIGs) 2008/09[100]

 

MIG Allocation

PERCENTAGE SPENT

EC 107 Baviaans

R 6,376,000

100%

GT422 Midvaal

R 16,392,000

96%

WC043 Mossel Bay

R 10,215,000

100%

WC032 Overstrand

R 10,093,000

100%

WC015 Swartland

R 8,675,000

100%

WC031 Theewaterskloof

R 15,492,000

100%

All non DA municipalities

R 8,614,503,000

75%

MIGs are given to municipalities to finance infrastructure in poor communities, the basis not only for poverty relief but also local economic growth. Growth, as the DA model recognises, is the long-term driver of opportunities, jobs, development and the prosperity of our people. MIGs finance the building and maintenance of roads, sidewalks, footways, electricity connections, streetlights, high-mast lighting, multi-purpose centres, landfills, cemeteries, water supply lines, waste water treatment plants, stormwater drains and sewerage systems. They provide a critical resource for achieving our country's developmental aims.

An inability to access and spend MIGs usually reflects an inability to adequately plan and manage. The 25% of MIG allocations that have been left unspent reflects a systemic inability among South Africa's local municipalities to adequately plan and carry out capital projects. In real human terms, the R2,2bn that was not spent in 2008/09 is a loss beyond quantification.

On the other hand, that five out of the six consolidated DA municipalities have achieved 100% MIG expenditure, talks to the pro-growth, pro-poor priorities of the DA in local government. It is also notable that this impressive record is not limited to consolidated municipalities. Even where we have been in government for a far shorter time, or in coalitions, we have managed to improve expenditure rates significantly. To illustrate, of the 13 municipalities currently governed or co-governed by the DA, including the City of Cape Town, a total of R452 million in MIGs were allocated, of which R446 million was spent - a 99% rate of expenditure. In fact, in 12 of our 13 municipalities, 100% of MIG allocations were spent; in contrast, only 34% of non-DA municipalities spend their full allotment.

LESSONS OF EXPERIENCE

Experience has vindicated the DA's view that municipal government, far from being a bottomless bucket of resources to be parcelled out at the whim of the incumbent council, is in fact a fragile set of institutions, requiring careful management and the constant husbanding of scarce resources. It is clear that success in municipal governance does not come overnight. Still, where we have been in government, we have showed that real progress can be made - even in five years or less.

There are a number of important lessons that we have drawn from our time in government. One constant across the six municipalities discussed in this document is the need to have the right people in place. This means not only having the right skills in key positions, but also providing adequate structures, policies and lines of accountability to facilitate the use of those skills. One essential is the need for the municipal administration to be non-political, able to serve the local government of the day irrespective of what political party it represents.

The DA's six Consolidated Municipalities work hard to achieve these aims. Each has supporters of other political parties in a range of senior administrative positions - the benchmark is merit, not political support. In a similar way, delivery of poverty alleviation measures is determined by objective need, as reflected in such indicators as income, and not by political affiliation.

Efficiency, and sustainability, we have found, are two essential preconditions for effective delivery. If infrastructure is to be maintained over time, there has to be efficiency in the collection of user fees, routine maintenance and emergency repairs. Efficiency, however, turns out to be a little difficult to pin down. One of the more useful measures in this respect is the ratio of staff costs to overall expenditure. Ideally, municipalities should keep staff costs low, and service and infrastructure expenditure high. We have found that keeping staff expenditure to between one-quarter and one-third of a municipality's total expenditure helps to ensure that enough funds are available to help the lives of ordinary people. Generally, as a result of the inefficiencies of previous administrations, this has meant cutting out unnecessary positions. In the case of Theewaterskloof, we found a number of important staffing positions unfilled, and thus the administration's staff costs have increased. In all but the case of Baviaans - where staff costs previously took up more than half of all spending - salary spending has now been right-sized to between 25 and 32% of expenditure:

STAFF COSTS AS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL EXPENDITURE[101]

 

2005/06

2010/11

EC 107 Baviaans

55%

38%

GT422 Midvaal

33%

28%

WC043 Mossel Bay

30%+

28%

WC032 Overstrand

36%

26%

WC015 Swartland

29%

32%

WC031 Theewaterskloof

19%

25%

Western Cape Average

32%

32%

CONCLUSION

The DA believes in an Open, Opportunity Society for All in which every citizen is able to develop his or her talents as fully as he or she chooses. Municipal government is one of the critical instruments in establishing and maintaining such a society.

The primary objectives of municipal government are to create an enabling environment that helps to create jobs, establish safer communities, and deliver the critically needed services and infrastructure that will put our nation on a long-term path to development and prosperity. DA administrations may not have a perfect record in government, but they understand that poverty and inequality are the most pressing problems facing our society, and they have demonstrated an abiding commitment to addressing them.

Central, too, to the DA's delivery on our mandate is our establishment of open, accountable administrations. For this reason, DA municipalities open municipal meetings to the public, that were previously closed, and we have demonstrated, in notching up unqualified audit after unqualified audit, that our administrations are governed in a clean, efficient and accountable manner.

Finally, in the DA's view, local autonomy is critical. The more this is done, the stronger the system becomes and the easier it is to make good decisions in future. Granting local autonomy to DA administrations has allowed us to deliver local solutions to local problems. This works all the more effectively when it is local players making the decisions. Our model of governance thus aims to place the people in charge - to collapse the distinction between governments and people, and to allow communities to take charge of their own futures.

The story of our record in government is a work in progress. It continues to be written every day, in the provincial and local administrations that we govern, and in the decisions that citizens make when they go to the polls. Our story, thus far, is nonetheless one of considerable hope. It is a story of kept promises, delivered services, safer communities, and people-centred development. Most significantly, it is a story that tells of how the legacy of Apartheid need not define South Africa's future. It shows that, while there may be bumps on the road, the destination can be jobs, development, prosperity and a better future for all.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Auditor-General Consolidated General Report 2008-09

Baviaans Municipality, Newsletter, Volume 1-Volume 9

CoGTA (2009a) Consolidated Annual Municipal Performance Report 2008/09: Western Cape

Botha-Guthrie, N. (2011a) Address to the Hermanus Chamber of Commerce

Botha-Guthrie, N. (2011b) The Open Opportunity Society for All (speech)

CoGTA (2009a) Local Government Turnaround Strategy, November

CoGTA (2009b) The State of Local Government in South Africa

CoGTA (2009c) Basic Services Publication: Comparative Information on Basic Services

CoGTA (2010) Annual Report 2010

CoGTA (2010) Universal Household Access to Basic Services (UHABS)

Empowerdex (2009) Service Delivery Index

Gauteng Planning Commission (2009) Quality Of Life Survey

Institute for Local Government Management of South Africa (2009) Submission to Parliamentary Hearings on Coordinated Service Delivery, January

Midvaal Municipality (2010) Annual Report 2009/10

Midvaal Municipality (2011) Celebrating 10 Years of Success: The Best Quality of Life in Gauteng

Mossel Bay (2011) Santos Beach on of the Best in the World, Press Release, January

Mossel Bay (2010a) Annual Report

Mossel Bay (2010b) Municipality Receives National Excellence Award for Water Quality, Press Release

Mossel Bay (2010c) Mossel Bay Municipality Gets Clean Audit Report, Press Release, January

Mossel Bay (2010d) Asazani/Dwellings get Electricity, Press Release, August

Nast, T. Executive Mayor's Budget Speech, Midvaal, 2009

Nast, T. and Lewis, G.(2010) Fix the basics and jobs will follow, Business Day, 22 July

Nast, T. (2011a) Midvaal wins awards for job creation, attracting investment and fighting crime, 9th February

Nast, T. (2011b) Facts on Midvaal, letter in Business Day, 9 March 2011

Overstrand Municipality (2010a) Draft Growth Management Strategy

Overstrand Municipality (2010b) Annual Report 2009/10

South African Institute of Race Relations (2009) Local Government and the Poverty Challenge

Semple, J. Nast, T. and Wenger, M. (2009) Government report confirms DA run Midvaal is Gauteng's top municipality

Swartland (2010a) Executive Mayor's Report

Swartland (2010b) Swartland Municipality Then (2000) and Now, Presentation by Executive Mayor

Swartland (2011a) Draft Multi Year Capital and Operating Budget 2011-16, January

Swartland (2011b) Fourth Annual Revision of the 2007-11 Integrated Development Plan, February

Support Programme for Accelerated Infrastructure Development [SPAID] (2009) 

Theewaterskloof Municipality (2009) Annual Report 2008/09

Theewaterskloof Municipality (2010a) "Turn-around" at Municipality rewarded, Press Release, November

Theewaterskloof Municipality (2010b) Draft 2011/12 IDP Implementation Plan

Theewaterskloof Municipality (2010c) IDP 2010/11 Review

Van Lingen, E. Statement, DA NCOP, 16 March 2011

Zille, H. (2011) Statement, Midvaal Gets 8th unqualified audit in a row, 13 Jan

Issued by the Democratic Alliance, May 4 2011

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[1] Institute for Local Government Management of South Africa (2009) Submission to Parliamentary Hearings on Coordinated Service Delivery

[2] Baviaans Municipality, Newsletter, Volume 1 No. 1 2009 p.3

[3] Baviaans Municipality, Newsletter, Volume 2 2009/10 p.3

[4] Empowerdex (2009)

[5] Empowerdex (2009) p.7

[6] Stats SA 2001, 2010; CoGTA 2009a

[7] Van Lingen, E. Statement, DA NCOP, 16 March 2011

[8] Empowerdex (2009)

[9] Stats SA 2001, 2010; CoGTA 2009a

[10] Van Lingen, E. Statement, DA NCOP, 16 March 2011

[11] Interview Loock, E. 2011

[12] Octagonal Development (2010) Customer Care Survey For Baviaans Local Municipality, 15 December

[13] Van Lingen, E. Statement, DA NCOP, 16 March 2011

[14] Baviaans Municipality Newsletter, Vol. 7 Oct 2010 p. 2

[15] Baviaans Municipality Newsletter, Vol. 7 Oct 2010 p. 3

[16] Van Lingen, E. Statement, DA NCOP, 16 March 2011

[17] Gauteng Planning Commission (2009) Quality Of Life Survey

[18] Nast, T. Executive Mayor's Budget Speech 2009

[19] Semple, J. Nast, T. and Wenger, M (2010) Government report confirms DA run Midvaal is Gauteng's top municipality

[20] Nast, T. (2011b) Facts on Midvaal, letter in Business Day, 9 March 2011

[21] Zille, H. (2011) Statement, Midvaal Gets eighth unqualified audit in a row, 13 Jan

[22] Municipal IQ (2010) Municipal Productivity Index, December. The agency ranked Midvaal 23rd out of 231 municipalities

[23] Gauteng Planning Commission (2009) Quality Of Life Survey

[24] Nast, T. and Lewis, G. Fix the basics and jobs will follow, Business Day, 22 July 2010

[25] Nast, T. (2011a) Midvaal wins awards for job creation, attracting investment and fighting crime, 9th February

[26] Tacking youth unemployment head on, Press Release, Midvaal, 11 March 2011

[27] Semple et al, ibid

[28] Midvaal (2011) Celebrating 10 years of success: The best quality life in Gauteng, Midvaal Municipality, p. 30

[29] Midvaal (2011) ibid, p. 23

[30] Midvaal (2011) ibid, pp. 12 &16

[31] Midvaal (2011) ibid p.15

[32] Midvaal (2011) ibid p.13

[33] Midvaal (2011) ibid p.15

[34] Midvaal (2011) ibid p.18

[35] Midvaal (2011) ibid p.21-22

[36] Interview, Mossel Bay Municipality exco, 2011

[37] Mossel Bay (2011) Draft IDP 2011/12

[38] Mossel Bay (2011) Draft IDP 2011/12

[39] Interview, Mossel Bay Municipality exco, 2011

[40] Interview, Mossel Bay Municipality exco, 2011

[41] SAPA (2007) Mossel Bay the safest place to visit, 12 July 2007

[42] Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape (2008) Cleanest Town Competition Report

[43] Mossel Bay (2011a) Mossel Bay receives another unqualified audit, Press Release

[44] Mossel Bay (2011) Draft IDP 2011/12

[45] Mossel Bay (2011) Draft IDP 2011/12

[46] Interview, Mossel Bay Municipality exco, 2011

[47] Sapa (2007) Mossel Bay the safest place to visit, 12 July

[48] Mossel Bay (2010) Asazani/Izinyoka dwellings get electricity, Press Release, 13 August

[49] Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape (2008) Cleanest Town Competition Report

[50] Mossel Bay (2011b) Council approves 2010 Annual Report, Press Release, 8 April

[51] Empowerdex 2009

[52] CoGTA (2009) State of Local Government in South Africa

[53] Botha-Guthrie, N. (2011a)

[54] Interview: Botha Guthrie, N. 2011

[55] Overstrand municipality Factsheet

[56] Interview: Botha Guthrie, N. 2011

[57] Interview ibid

[58] Botha-Guthrie, N. (2011b)

[59] Overstrand has work-shopped and put in place policies in every relevant area, ranging from economic growth to baboons. These include an integrated refuse disposal plan, a water services development plan a disaster management plan and an integrated transport plan.

[60] Overstrand cleanest in the Cape, Cape Argus, 12 October 2010

[61] Overstrand municipality Factsheet

[62] Overstrand municipality Factsheet

[63] Botha-Guthrie, N. (2011b)

[64] Interview: Botha Guthrie, N. 2011

[65] Overstrand cleanest in the Cape, Cape Argus, 12 October 2010

[66] Overstrand municipality Factsheet

[67] Interview: Botha Guthrie, N. 2011

[68] Botha-Guthrie, N. (2011a)

[69] CoGTA (2009) State of Local Government in South Africa

[70] Interview: Botha Guthrie, N. 2011

[71] CoGTA (2009) State of Local Government in South Africa

[72] Swartland Municipality, (2010) Then (2000) and Now (2010), presentation by Executive Mayor

[73] Municipal press release June 2008

[74] Interview van Essen, T. 2011

[75] Van Essen, T. (2010) Executive Mayor's report, 27 May

[76] Van Essen, T. (2010) Executive Mayor's report, 27 May

[77] Swartland Municipality (2010) ibid

[78] Swartland Municipality (2011) Draft Multi-Year Capital and Draft Operating Budget 2011/16

[79] Interview van Essen, T. 2011

[80] Swartland Municipality (2010) ibid

[81] Swartland Municipality (2011) Draft Multi-Year Capital and Draft Operating Budget 2011/16

[82] Interview van Essen, T. 2011

[83] CoGTA (2009) State of Local Government in South Africa

[84] Swartland Municipality, (2010) Then (2000) and Now (2010), presentation by Executive Mayor

[85] Van Essen, T. (2010) Executive Mayor's report, 27 May

[86] Municipal press release June 2008

[87] Van Essen, T. (2010) Executive Mayor's report, 27 May

[88] Theewaterskloof municipality, IDP 2006-2010/2011

[89] Theewaterskloof municipality (2010) A DA local government of Excellence (factsheet)

[90] Theewaterskloof municipality (2010) ibid

[91] Theewaterskloof municipality (2010) ibid

[92] Theewaterskloof municipality (2010) ibid

[93] Theewaterskloof municipality (2010) ibid

[94] Theewaterskloof municipality (2010) ibid

[95] CoGTA (2009) State of Local Government in South Africa

[96] Stats SA 2001, 2010

[97] Stats SA 2001, 2010; CoGTA 2009a

[98] Empowerdex (2009) Service Delivery Index

[99] Moqhaka in Free State. Second and third worst are Impendhle in KwaZulu-Natal (-26.6%) and Merafong City in North West Province (-26.4%)

[100] CoGTA Annual Report 2010, Midvaal Municipality Annual Report 2009/10

[101] CoGTA (2009) Consolidated Annual Municipal Performance Report 2008/09: Western Cape