Ulundi pushes for drastic changes in municipal funding model

Ulundi municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal has called for sweeping changes in the municipal funding model.

The move, said the municipality, will level the playing field between small and so-called bigger municipalities.

This as the former KwaZulu-Natal capital embarks on a campaign to name its buildings after prominent figures who left an indelible mark in shaping the face of the area, known as the city of heritage.


“The naming of our buildings after our heroes and heroines is not only a historic imperative, but it should be done to ensure that memories and heritage leaves on for generations to come,” said mayor Wilson Ntshangase this week.

“We are also calling for the national government to consider reviewing the municipal funding model to accommodate small municipalities like ours.”

Ntshangase added that the current status quo is not viable.

“In rural councils for instance, there is a massive income gap where most people are economically inactive.

“Those who are employed have to subsidise those who cannot pay. There are also fewer people who are able to pay for services,” he said.

Early in 2023, Ulundi local municipality was forced to disconnect households who had connected illegally to the grid. At the time, about R100-million was owed to cash-strapped power utility Eskom.


Municipal manager Sandile Khomo conceded that revenue collection is severely affecting service delivery.

“We do know that Salga [South African Local Government Association] has sharply raised the issue of the municipal funding model because it is outdated and fails to support the constitutional mandate of local government.

“There is a high expectation placed on local municipalities.”

Poor revenue collection coupled with salary disparities are believed to be at the heart of local government failures.

 

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