Why support capacity building?
According to PWC South Africa, local government challenges typically include:
- Loss of institutional knowledge because of staff attrition
- Difficulty in keeping skills and capacity aligned to ever increasing service delivery demands
- Technology advances demand that local government management and staff remain relevant
- Difficulty in attracting suitably qualified staff
- Inability to create careers for staff and staff retention
- Effective, relevant and local government orientated training
- Effective utilisation of LG Seta and other skills development options
Capacity building is at the heart of what drives effective service delivery on the part of local government. It is therefore important to build human capacity and physical infrastructure. It is also vital to improve socioeconomic conditions and promote greater access to basic services within communities – this benefits municipalities indirectly.
All capacity building initiatives should dovetail with the Integrated Development Plans, the main planning instruments in local government, which include frameworks for local land use, environment protection, and improvements to infrastructure and services.
Various models of intervention assist capacity building in different ways.
Examples of intervention models
1. Support district and municipality planning processes
This model has a district-based approach that sets out to improve the coherence and impact of government service delivery and development in the 44 districts and eight metros in the country.In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the first pilot site of the district-based coordination model known as ‘Khawuleza’, which means ‘hurry up’ in isiXhosa, in the OR Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape. It involves maximum coordination and cooperation among national, provincial and local spheres of government, as well as close work with social partners like business and community at district level, enabling synchronised planning.
This obviates the need to work in silos or on a piecemeal basis. The model also addressed monitoring and evaluation, which have been vague and inconsistent at times.
3. Invest in human capacity through training, mentorship, internships or secondments
This model focuses on assisting municipalities and their staff to operate competently and develop to their full potential through individual capacity building, which includes the training and mentorship of municipal staff as well as the secondment of staff the provision of professional services to local municipalities.
PWC outlines some of the capacity building challenges faced by local government and lists some of the ways it can assist in finding solutions to these challenges. It asserts that real, sustainable transformation is possible by developing and aligning internal capacity building to service delivery requirements.
Anglo American Municipal Capacity Building Development Programme
This partnership between Anglo American and the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) is focused on building stronger communities in the mining operations and/or labour sending areas. It aims to build the requisite capabilities and enhance the ability of municipalities in Anglo American’s mining operations and labour sending areas to provide basic services. Is also focuses on improving the investment climate for these municipalities to attract new business opportunities that would improve local economies.
This article indicates why KwaZulu-Natal’s municipal capacity building strategy is considered best practice. KZN Cogta looked at capacity building in its entirety, ensuring there were adequate human resources, equipment, vehicles, policies and organisational structured aligned to the Integrated Development Plans and the powers and functions of municipalities.
4. Build and maintain infrastructure
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) rolled out the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA) to expand municipal infrastructure and thus accelerate service delivery. The idea is to support municipalities with planning, management and technical expertise so they can roll out infrastructure more efficiently. Stakeholders from government, provinces, municipalities, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and various experts can play a role here.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) is located in Rustenburg, North West Province. In order to combat the high crime rates ravaging communities, Amplats worked closely with stakeholders like local community policing forums to prioritise village electrification. Solar high-mast lights were found to be three times more affordable than standard electrical fittings and helped to create jobs for youth subsequently trained in maintenance. The project, which helps to link communities to the green economy, started in June 2016 and has since been extended to eight communities where Amplats operates.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) adopted a value-driven rather than growth-driven strategy to create a more resilient business in the North West and Limpopo provinces. It partners with various stakeholders, including communities themselves, to achieve various goals – including developing infrastructure.
5. Supporting municipalities in specific areas
This model supports municipalities in specific areas, for example, disaster relief, enterprise development, support for ECDs.
a) Disaster relief: These efforts prioritise disaster relief, but also look at building more resilient communities in the long term. This is key to reducing vulnerability in the face of natural and other hazards.
In 2012, Santam identified an opportunity to collaborate with government on their mutual interest of mitigating and managing disasters. Since then, Santam has successfully partnered with four district municipalities to build resilience in disaster risk management as part of its Partnerships for Risk and Resilience (P4RR) programme. Santam’s partnerships with municipalities aim to pool public and private sector expertise and resources.
Absa disaster relief efforts
In 2017, Absa assisted communities hit by fire and floods in parts of the Western and Eastern Cape. The bank started an emergency fund with a donation of R10m to support disaster relief efforts, with R2 million supporting the hardest-hit communities. It also delivered 5 600 Cape Epic tents to provide temporary shelter. It worked with Gift of the Givers and Pick n Pay to distribute supplies to affected households
b) Enterprise development: This model holds that it is vital to invest tie and capital in entrepreneurship, which will in turn improve socioeconomic outcomes in the country.
By stimulating economic activity in the Bafokeng villages, the Royal Bafokeng Enterprise Development (RBED) programme creates jobs and reduces poverty. It creates an enabling environment for the prosperity of current and future generations. Its enterprise development strategy is based on a three-tier approach built on the premise that all members of the Bafokeng nation should have access to such support.
Recommended resources for investing in capacity building at municipalities
|Understanding the Dynamics of the Capacity Challenge at Local Government Level||Chapter 9 of the Financial and Fiscal Commission’s 2013/14 submission for the Division of Revenue indicates that very little research exists on whether the government’s budgets and expenditure translate into increased capacity and performance, specifically at local government level. A lack of formal evaluation means that it is difficult to assess whether government’s capacity building initiatives are successful or not. In addition, the lack of a common definition of capacity building, its outcomes, and its impact has led to an uncoordinated, directionless approach to capacity building in local government.|
|If we fixed municipalities, half the country’s problems would be solved||Dr Zweli Mkhize argues that municipalities are at the core or promoting economic growth – which is why the Department of Governance and Traditional Affairs’ (CoGTA) Back to Basics programme is so important.|
|New regulations will allow South African municipalities to buy and generate their own electricity||This 2020 article in Business Tech indicates that new draft regulations may help to address South Africa’s ongoing power issues. However, this only applies to municipalities in good standing, and must be carried out in accordance with the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).|
|Prosperity Fund’s cities programme responds to Covid-19 crisis in South Africa||The British High Commission, through the Future Cities programme, is delivering additional support to its partner municipalities in South Africa in an amount of R42m. This goes towards supporting their response and recovery plans in order to make them more resilient and viable in the fact of the complex effects of the pandemic.|
|Water concerns: Pandemic could starve WASH sectors of resources||The COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge to water utilities and municipalities and the WASH sector may be deprived of much-needed financing. However, there are opportunities for these sectors, particularly as universal water services delivery will play a key role in achieving SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation)|