Programme implementation is already under way for diversified miner Anglo American’s R120-million, three year Municipal Capacity Development Programme (MCDP), which it is undertaking in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF).
The MCDP, which was launched last week, aims to advance govern- ment’s development agenda for South Africa’s municipalities by creating fully functioning and sustainable municipalities that are capable of delivering good-quality basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity infrastructure, all while being cost effective and efficient.
The programme is targeted at Anglo American’s host communities and labour sending areas and it will focus on 11 municipal sites in the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape, the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
Speaking at the event in Johan-nesburg, Anglo American South Africa executive director Khanyisile Kweyama said the MCDP would directly improve the conditions of local communities in South Africa by improving service delivery and shaping social development, while also promoting municipal sustainability in the long term. “This will also enable us to manage the expectations of the communities in which we operate,” she said.
She further said that enhanced municipal capability would be achieved by developing and implementing plans and procedures to improve municipal billing systems and controls and reduce electricity and water distribution losses at municipal sites.
The programme will also address municipal infrastructure plans, asset registers and coordination of sector policies that guide the provision of municipal services, as well as provide technical support to address any shortfalls in the infrastructure necessary for basic service delivery.
The MCDP will place a strong emphasis on improving internal communication and modifying, reinvigorating and upskilling personnel behavior, as well as focus on attracting inward investment into the 11 municipalities.
“Although the provision of municipal services is constitutionally the responsibility of the local authority, Anglo American identified the MCDP as a worthwhile investment, as it is aligned to the National Development Plan’s focus on developing partnerships with government towards strengthening the country,” noted Kweyama.
Iterating the need for capacity building at the country’s municipalities was Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs minister Pravin Gordhan, who added that capacity building was important to grow the country from a municipal level.
“Municipalities need to focus on the basic services that communities require else they are not doing their job. Municipalities need to serve communities better, as citizens are ultimately the final judge as to whether they are doing their job or not,” he said.
The added benefit of establishing functioning municipalities is that it will also support a stable local economic environment, while, in turn, creating a stable business climate at municipal level. This will provide a foundation for entrepreneurship and new business development, which could help towards achieving higher levels of local employment and procurement.
The ICF, which is well known for removing barriers to doing business in Africa, and Anglo American are providing funding for the programme, while the DBSA, which has highly regarded expertise in building the effectiveness of public institutions, is the management partner and will provide governance and oversee procurement matters. This includes managing the service providers appointed to implement hands-on skills training at municipal level.
Kweyama said a successful procurement processes had already seen service providers being deployed at certain municipalities able to start work. “We have also completed several engagements with all the relevant national government departments to ensure alignment and a collaborative effort,” she said.