Getting municipal finances right, is at the heart of a functioning local economy and the quality of life of its residents.

A critical aspect of promoting inclusive local economic growth and an enabling business environment in the iLembe District, is strengthening the financial position of the iLembe family of municipalities through better capacity to plan, finance and manage infrastructure investments and provide quality public services resulting in a conducive business climate.

The Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme is currently providing both Municipal Councillors and senior management with an accredited training programme in Municipal Leadership, Finance and Oversight.

The Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme aims to improve the competitiveness and resilience of the iLembe District economy through a series of targeted interventions in five components namely  public financial management capacity at municipal level, infrastructure planning and development, private sector development through creating a more enabling business environment and skills development, building inclusive growth and strengthening partnerships and coordination for a more pro-active and comprehensive response to the economic challenges in the district. 

The training for municipal officials involved councillors serving on oversight committees in the five municipalities of iLembe, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Ndwedwe and Maphumulo.

Zama Sozi, the Public Finance Management Expert with the Vuthela Programme said: “The training is intended to strengthen and improve councillors’ engagement with financial and non-financial information on which they must play an oversight role. 

“Of importance is the oversight role played by Finance Portfolio Committee (FPC) and Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) members and the successful implementation of a legal framework governing local government,” said Soji. 

“For new councillors the training is critical as they will have a better understanding of their responsibilities in these financial oversight committees they serve on, as well as a broader understanding of what is expected from them as leaders,” said Soji, adding the training also serves as a refresher to the long-serving councillors.

Councillor Thuli Mkhize of KwaDukuza District Municipality said the training has proved useful to understand the importance of collaboration by leaders and gave her an understanding of the development of policies and by-laws.

“I have learnt the importance of accountability to all stakeholders of the municipality, including officials and the municipal manager,” he said.

Councillor Sihle Ntuli of Maphumulo Municipality said the main focus of the training was municipal finance management which is very crucial and challenging in most municipalities.

“I have learnt a lot on how to properly manage municipal finances within the law. We are well-equipped now and will apply what we learnt,” he said.

Sandeep Oudhram of iLembe District Municipality said councillors must keep abreast of the latest legislation to be effective leaders and the training helped in this regard.

“I learnt the importance of oversight in governance and financial processes,” he said.