Skills and service delivery riots


A recent Indaba on the service delivery protests included the comments below:

The turn-around strategy would be submitted to Cabinet by December this year and municipalities were expected to formulate their own specific strategies, within the framework of the national turn-around plan by March next year. The indaba comes in the wake of service delivery protests around the country.
Communities took to the streets in various areas protesting against the lack of delivery and corruption, and calling for the removal of councillors and mayors.

It is more than evident that lack of skills is responsible for the chaos in municipalities and local government. The frequent reference to corruption and jobs for buddies simply reinforces the skills issue: if competent management had been in place to start with, it should have limited the tendency for this behaviour. It is high time a realistic skills audit be undertaken, comparing what is in place with what SHOULD be in place, and then determining how any gaps happened. We hear of ex-teachers acting in positions that should be carried out by technically skilled persons, complete lack of engineering capacity, young appointees who have no experience. Why has this been allowed to happen by voters and ratepayers? If political influence has been allowed to rule appointments, then the government is surely breaching the constitution which identifies the rights of citizens to basic services which can only be provided by competent staff. We watch in horror as a multi-billion Rand infrastructure becomes debilitated by lack of operational and maintenance competence. It is becoming prohibitively costly to resurrect or replace it.

Skills Universe should lobby for an independent group skills audit of the 283 municipalities to get the true picture of what skills are needed, and how they could be created, found, retained etc.

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