Focus on infrastructure

For the past two decades of South Africa’s democracy,

government has focused on achieving universal access to basic services but it has become imperative that equal focus now be given to improving infrastructure in municipalities.

This is according to the President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Parks Tau,

who said the current state of infrastructure in municipalities is under heavy strain and suffers from years of neglect and limited maintenance.

He recently addressed more than 400 delegates which included municipal leaders and offi cials, members of parliament,

industry experts and key stakeholders in local government infrastructure, during the Municipal Innovation Infrastructure Financing Conference (MIIF) held in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

Tau called for a new paradigm shift in order to address the infrastructural challenges confronting municipalities.

“The whole sphere of local government needs to rethink its approach to the kind of infrastructure that we invest in and start to focus more on climate-proofi ng investments to allow for longer useful life and better return on investment,” said Tau.

 “With the increasing dynamic of inward migration, mushrooming of informal settlements,

increased population size, urbanisation,

climate change and new technologies, we have to take stock of whether our current infrastructure can withstand these challenges,” he added.

Technical capacity He said local government has to deal with the challenge of building the technical capacity within,

to master the art of project preparation in order to execute infrastructure projects.

SALGA organised the three-day MIIF conference to empower the sector to mobilise financial resources from outside their current budgets

 and financing instruments to overcome infrastructural challenges.

The conference called for the private sector to propose concrete measures to assist municipalities with value-for-money analysis

 and to assist in developing procurement documents and project concession agreements.

SALGA has a membership of 257 municipalities nationally.

Membership is voluntary. The association represents, promotes and protects the interests of local governments and raises the profile of local government, among other objectives.

It has a duty to inspire municipalities to better deliver services because municipalities must inspire the confi dence of citizens who have entrusted them with this vital role.

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Author: ปราณี