With almost two-thirds of SA’s municipalities either distressed or dysfunctional, the appointment of nearly 100 technical experts to struggling municipalities last week is a welcome intervention. But unless the municipal culture of impunity changes to a culture of accountability, nothing will really get better.Last week, co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize deployed 81 engineers and town planners to 55 struggling municipalities across the country.The aim is to build permanent technical capacity in these municipalities so that they can spend their infrastructure budgets.Over the past five years, R3.4bn in infrastructure grants has been shifted from underspending municipalities to those better able to use the money. This is not ideal, as it penalises weaker municipalities and punishes poorer communities, said Mkhize in a speech welcoming the new cadre of technicians. He warned them that they could expect to find "serious problems" in these municipalities...

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