Rooting out corruption in municipalities will get the kick-start it needs with amendments being made to the Municipal Structures Act.
At the second reading debate on the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill in the National Assembly on Thursday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill will strengthen governance in municipalities and deal with corruption.
This in part will be achieved through forbidding councillors — who were removed from office for breaching the code of conduct — from becoming councillors again for a period of two years.
This amendment also makes it makes it mandatory for all municipalities to establish Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPACs).
“Importantly, the amendments prohibit officials or holders of political office such as mayors, speakers, and whips from being members of MPACs,” said Mkhize.
The amendments spell out the oversight powers and functions of MPACs, including the power to initiate investigations.
“Significantly, the amendments make it mandatory for MPAC reports to be submitted to speakers, who will obliged to table these reports in council,” said Mkhize.
The amendments, the Minister said, would largely address the country’s five most urgent tasks, as outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address earlier this month. These tasks include accelerating inclusive economic growth and job creation, and improving the education system and developing skills.
Mkhize said addressing the needs of the people cannot be done without strengthening the State’s capacity.
“It comes as we celebrate 25 years of democracy and 19 years of fully democratic local