Three Eastern Cape municipalities among SA’s best-run local authorities

Mnquma municipality, which has been ranked among the best-run local authorities in SA, is busy with streets upgrades in various areas.
Mnquma municipality, which has been ranked among the best-run local authorities in SA, is busy with streets upgrades in various areas.

Three Eastern Cape municipalities have been ranked among the best-run local authorities in the country.

Butterworth-based Mnquma and Mbizana-based Winnie Madikizela-Mandela local municipalities are in the top five in the mostly rural municipalities category, comprising 61 local authorities from across SA.

Madikizela-Mandela claimed the second spot, while Mnquma appeared at number five, according to the 2024 Governance Performance Index (GPI) published recently by Good Governance Africa. 

The Joe Gqabi district municipality came out tops in the “water services authority districts” category, comprising 21 district municipalities.

However, some of the province’s municipalities did not fare well.

Among the country’s eight metros, Buffalo City Metro was ranked number six.

In the report, Good Governance Africa sheds light on the factors influencing GPI rankings, including administration and governance, leadership and management, service delivery and planning, monitoring and evaluation.

“Among factors we identified as regularly influencing GPI scores were province of origin, MIIF [municipal infrastructure investment framework] classifications, population density patterns [higher densities were linked to better scores] and historical GPI score,” the report said.

“Furthermore, as it related to the provision of a municipality’s core function — basic service delivery — higher GPI scores [in] categories such as administration and governance and leadership and management were linked with better service delivery outcomes.

“Another influential indicator, especially for the indicators pertaining to service delivery access, is whether a municipality contains some area which was either previously governed by the homeland system or is currently governed in some way by traditional authorities.”

The Mnquma municipality this week welcomed its achievement, saying its ranking was a true reflection of its efforts to ensure clean governance and improved service delivery.

“We have noted the report with a lot of humility,” municipal spokesperson Loyiso Mpalantshane said.

“It means that someone out there is taking note of the good work that we continue to do to turn the fortunes of the municipality around, and by extension improving the lives of the people of Mnquma through practical work on the ground and tangible outcomes.

“The criteria for the award, according to the report, is based on clean governance and transparency, among other things.

“We have put in tight control systems to improve on the above and the results are telling.

“We dedicate the award to the people of Mnquma, the ratepayers who are the engine of the municipality and our hardworking employees.

“During the past two terms, Mnquma municipal manager Silumko Mahlasela has been on the right track.

“Mahlasela has overseen Mnquma, achieving a clean audit for two years in a row — 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.

“The municipality completed the paving and construction of road infrastructure in the Butterworth CBD.

“Other areas include suburbs Extension 2, Extension 6, Extension 7, Extension 24, Vuli Valley [and] paving and slabbing of internal streets in Msobomvu township,” Mpalantshane said.

“Street upgrades in Cuba township and Mchubakazi township are under way, funded through the municipal infrastructure grant.

“We have beefed up our yellow plant to address erosion in villages, the latest being the purchase of two graders and one excavator.

“The plan is to have a set of yellow plant to service villages in each of our three towns, namely Butterworth, Centane and Ngqamakhwe .”

Refuse collection and electrification, including street lights, were at the top of the agenda.

The municipality was also building a R180m office precinct, due for completion in November 2025, to centralise service delivery, and a taxi rank in Ngqamakhwe for R7.6m.

“We are currently upgrading the Msobomvu sports ground,” Mpalantshane said.

“[We are busy with] electrification of streets and rural areas through the INEP [integrated national electrification programme] and in partnership with Eskom.

“We have built a driver’s licence testing centre in Msobomvu, tourism information centre, capacity building and [provided] assistance to livestock and crop farmers, to name a few.”

Co-operative governance MEC Zolile Williams’ spokesperson, Pheello Oliphant, gave a thumbs-up to the best-performing municipalities in the province.

“The Joe Gqabi district municipality excelled in the category of the water service authority.

“This is because the Joe Gqabi district municipality consistently performed well in respect of the Blue Drop [report], in other words in providing clean, drinkable water in the province,” Oliphant said.

“As Eastern Cape Cogta, we welcome the plaudits but this is very small compared to the vastness of our province. This is a drop in the ocean.

“Notwithstanding the strides the provincial government has done in providing water to our communities, more still needs to be done.

“Many villages do not have water in the taps, namely Amathole villages, in Healdtown, Kwamlalendle, Raymond Mhlaba local municipality.

“[Others include] Alfred Nzo district municipality villages and OR Tambo district municipality villages like Ngqeleni, Libode, Mqanduli ...”

Madikizela-Mandela and Joe Gqabi municipal spokespeople  could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.



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