Minister ZweliMkhize tables 2017/18 annual report of Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent to Parliament

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), DrZweliMkhize has tabled the 2017/18 Annual Report of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) in Parliament.

MISA is the implementing agent of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Ministry with the mandate of providing technical support to municipalities for effective and efficient development and maintenance of basic services infrastructure.

MISA has received an unqualified opinion for the 2017/18 financial year audit. This is an improvement from the overall audit outcome for the previous financial year that included a qualification in respect to the audit of predetermined objectives (AoPO). The agency has obtained an unqualified opinion in relation to the annual financial statements (AFS) for five consecutive years since it started reporting as a separate entity.

Key performance highlights for MISA in the last financial year include the provision of ongoing support to at least 60 Municipalities. This support included, training of 303 apprentices in technical fields, the training of 557 municipal officials in various aspects of municipal infrastructure delivery, and the placement of 102 qualified artisans and water process controllers in low capacity municipalities. One of the major task MISA embarked upon in the last financial year was the recruitment of professional engineers and planners to strengthen its internal capacity for effective execution of the agency's core mandate.

MISA also continued with the setting up of the Programme Management Office (PMO) established to manage implementation of support for 27 districts prioritised by cabinet in view of relatively high service backlogs still prevalent within their spaces. The Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) for service delivery will intensify efforts towards reducing backlogsin these 27 districts and other municipalities in line with targets set in Outcome 9 of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTEF) for five years to 2019.

Significant strides have been made in the filling of vacancies, particularly the appointment of engineers and other technical personnel as permanent employees.

It is also of concern that the number of municipalities struggling with spending on Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocations remains high, says Minister Mkhize.

The Minister said some of the municipalities with a perennial record of underspending have been found to be distressed or dysfunctional. To turn these municipalities around, we have initiated an intervention programme that is focusing on assisting distressed municipalities to build permanent capacity for the better delivery of infrastructure and services. In this regard, at least 55 municipalities have been selected to receive this kind of support during the first phase''.

Targeted support to these municipalities is being provided through district support teams comprising experts in various fields such as engineering, project management, finance, governance and geographic information system (GIS), among others. MISA is key in the implementation of this programme, working with the Back to Basics team in the Department of Cooperative Governance, National Treasury and Provincial Governments.

The strengthening of capacity in municipalities can only be sustained through the recruitment of suitably qualified people for critical positions. This will be achieved through, among others, the creation of a skills pipeline by training graduates and artisans, as well as upskilling of individuals already employed by municipalities to become professionals in their respective fields. MISA has done very well in the year under review to move COGTA and the country towards this trajectory,'' said Minister Mkhize.

Source: Government of South Africa