Deputy Speaker, just for the benefit of the hon Steenhuisen, the Minister is, in fact, out of the country, having been requested to go by the President.
The Minister views noncompliance with legislation in a serious light. It hampers the professionalisation of local government administration and it has a direct impact on the quality of service delivery by municipalities. The implementation of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act regulations, which are expected in November 2013, will be a positive step toward ensuring compliance with the legislation.
The Minister is working closely with the MECs responsible for local government in the provinces to ensure that municipal managers and managers directly accountable to them comply with minimum competency levels, as prescribed, before they are appointed. They should also monitor whether financial managers comply as provided for in the Municipal Finance Management Act regulations. Failure to comply may result in the MEC or the Minister's approaching the courts for a declaratory order as provided for in the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act.
The implementation of the minimum competency levels for municipal managers and senior managers is the responsibility of municipalities. Mayors are responsible for monitoring that there is comprehensive compliance before any appointment is made. The Minister has requested the MECs responsible for local government in provinces and mayors to monitor compliance with the minimum competency levels and to make appropriate interventions. The SA Local Government Association is also closely involved.
The Minister notes with concern that the majority of municipal managers and managers accountable to them did not satisfy the requirements as set out in the minimum competency levels contained in the Municipal Finance Management Act regulations by 1 January 2013.
Most municipalities made an application to the National Treasury to formally seek permission to delay the enforcement of the minimum competency regulations to allow officials to finalise their training beyond the 1 January 2013 deadline. This process is termed "the consideration of the special merit cases." Successful municipalities will be granted an additional 18 months to finalise training by 1 July 2014. The MECs of the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, the Northern Cape and the North West have been requested by the Minister to follow up with respect to the 11 municipalities that have, to date, failed to submit these required "special merit case" applications.
The list of applications received for the special merit cases reveals that most municipal managers and senior managers have applied for and most have complied with three out of the four prescribed requirements. The fourth requirement, which relates to financial management and supply chain management competencies, is still to be complied with. Most municipalities have made applications in line with this fourth requirement for more comprehensive compliance under the prescribed regulations.
The Ministers for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and for Finance are responsible for the Municipal Finance Management Act regulations. The two departments are in discussions in order to have one composite set of regulations on minimum competency levels for municipal managers and managers directly accountable to them. The two Ministers are working closely to monitor compliance with the minimum competency levels by municipalities. I thank you.