Managing the Money

The Vuthela Programme has strengthened the iLembe District Municipality’s revenue unit and created a strong platform for the municipality to build on, said Revenue Manager Muziwandile Gumede.

“The initiative has had a great impact in areas that required intervention and has assisted iLembe District Municipality immensely,” said Gumede.

Several projects were undertaken by the Vuthela Programme to help the iLembe District Municipality to manage its finances.

A system for managing the municipality’s indigent customers was designed and developed, along with appropriate policies.

Unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure had been reduced from R292mil to R123mil over three years.

Accredited training

Councillors serving on financial oversight committees underwent an accredited training in financial leadership and management to improve and strengthen their capacity in the execution of their responsibilities.

The Public Finances Management component of the initiative has improved budgeting for investment assets, operations and maintenance. The management of the procurement process has also been improved, leading to better standards of service delivery.

Policies have been developed to implement development charges for infrastructure development in a manner that should improve predictability and certainty.

A framework for a district business continuity management plan was developed, which proved valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic, the civil unrest of 2021 and the floods of 2022. This will ensure proper coordination during the crisis and also ensure that municipalities are able to provide critical services.

 A project to improve the management of municipal assets was implemented in three municipalities (iLembe District Municipality, KwaDukuza Local Municipality and Mandeni Local Municipality).

This included the amendments of asset management policies to incorporate best practices, better alignment of financial systems to best practices and greater awareness of reporting obligations from the municipality’s technical departments.

Improved financial management

The Vuthela Programme’s key projects that improved the iLembe District Municipality’s financial management capacity included initiatives to address non-revenue water and the review and update of the Operations & Maintenance Plan, seeking to improve budget allocations for infrastructure maintenance.

A funding agreement has been secured for the iLembe District Municipality to execute additional non-revenue water projects to the value of R32 million, and the municipality has received the first payment and is currently proceeding with the implementation of Component 1 of the project, focusing on six geographic areas to implement various non-revenue water activities. Component 2 of the project focuses on water meter population management.

The Vuthela Programme has also provided technical support iLembe District Municipality to monitor and manage the Siza Water concessionaire and contract. This included monitoring the concessionaire, reviewing the financial and legal model, and developing an exit management strategy template in preparation for when the contract ends in 2029.

The detailed specifications developed through the programme for the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA) were used to successfully source funding for its implementation. This system will allow the KwaDukuza Local Municipality to control and manage its electricity supply better through remote monitoring and switching in the transmission network and more effective responses to outages (planned or unplanned).

These key projects and activities have improved the management of financial and infrastructure aspects in the district, laying the base for future growth in this rapidly developing region.

Photo: Muziwandile Gumede, Manager, Finance Department, iLembe District Municipality