Local government is a mess. This has become a common refrain that is hard to dispute, not only because of the state of many municipalities but also because it has been confirmed in recent reports.

For instance, when releasing the 2019/2020 municipal audit results the auditor-general made clear that only 10% of municipalities managed to get a clean audit, over a quarter are in doubt as going concerns, and nearly a third ended the year running a deficit. Finance minister Tito Mboweni reported in parliament that 163 municipalities (almost two thirds) are facing financial distress...

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