Local Government in Crisis: What happens when municipalities fail?

About The Webinar

Maverick Citizen Editor Mark Heywood in conversation with Phindile Kunene, Senior Curriculum Developer at Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education and Ayanda Kota, Spokesperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement. 

Every year, the Auditor General’s municipal audit paints a stark picture of this crisis. The most recent audit shows that this crisis is deepening. It reveals that only 27 of South Africa’s 257 municipalities received a clean audit. This is 10 less than the 2018/19 municipal audit. It also shows that there was R26 billion in irregular expenditure in municipalities. Additionally, 27% of municipalities are neck-deep in debt and unable to pay for basic services like water and electricity. 
Yet, local government is essential to ensure that basic services are delivered, especially, to people who need them the most. But it is characterised by poor service delivery, the failure to maintain crucial infrastructures like sanitation and roads, inefficiency, and corruption. The legal battles municipalities face and the many community protests that take place every day over water, electricity, roads, sanitation, housing, and corruption lays this crisis bare. 

So, how did we get here?

  • Mark Heywood is former Executive Director of SECTION27, was one of the founding members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and is Editor of Maverick Citizen; the division of Daily Maverick dedicated to Civil Society.

  • Ayanda Kota is the Spokesperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement. In 1990 he was elected as a Class Representative and in 1995 he was elected as the Azanian Student Movement Chairperson in Cape Town. In the same year he was arrested and detained in the Cape Town police station for his role in Employ Black Teachers Campaign. The Unemployed People’s Movement has members in various parts of the country and vibrant branches in Grahamstown and in Durban. It works closely with the grassroots movements that, like Abahlali baseMjondolo, are affiliated to the Poor People’s Alliance and it is also affiliated to the Democratic Left Front.

  • Phindile Kunene holds an MA in History (Wits). Her research variously explored the history of the local state in South Africa. youth political activism, apartheid forms of cooption and youth political demobilization. She has also explored post- apartheid forms and repertoires of collective action and protest. An activist herself, she has been involved in youth and student movement, trade unions and currently works as an educator and curriculum specialist in service to activist organizations.

  • Mark Heywood

    Maverick Citizen Editor

  • Phindile Kunene

    Senior Curriculum Developer at Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education

  • Ayanda Kota

    Spokesperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement

  • Daily Maverick

    Webinar Host

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