Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize does not believe SA’s ailing municipalities can be fixed overnight, but says progress has been made in distressed municipalities over the past year. In an interview with Business Day, Mkhize said the right political leadership is necessary for municipalities to be turned around and that change must “cascade” from a national to a local level. He was appointed as a minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet in February last year with a mandate to improve the performance of local government, which was left in a shambles after former president Jacob Zuma’s resignation. Most of the municipalities’ finances are in distress and municipal debt is rising. Most prominent is the debt owed to Eskom and various water boards. Mkhize said this dire state has led to some municipalities using the equitable share they receive to pay for this debt. “I want to say that we will turn this around (quickly), but I think we must be r...

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