Adopt-a-council bailout proposed
Johannesburg - A document with suggestions as to how large companies in the private sector could become involved in a bailout programme for struggling municipalities is currently with Cooperative Government & Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka.
The programme – by means of which the public and private sectors would adopt a municipality – is an initiative by Santam [JSE:SNT] and the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI).
AHI chief executive Professor Stef Coetzee said a document containing the proposals had been presented to the minister, whose approval was required for the launch of the programme.
Coetzee said it was not the task of the private sector to step in to solve the problems of local authorities, but businesses could not function optimally if the system collapsed. This was particularly so in the country districts.
There are 283 municipalities in South Africa, 160 of which are in a crisis and delivering only 28 services of an acceptable standard.
Santam chief executive Ian Kirk said the plan was to place poorly managed municipalities under the wings of the better ones in an effort to develop skills.
Kirk said business can no longer remain uninvolved in the crisis at local authority level, as the risks are too high.
It was not about corporate social investment but about the survival of enterprises, he said.
But Coetzee said that it could take a long time before a response might be expected from the minister.