The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) has a profound role of promoting and protecting organised local government interests. This mandate is re-invigorated by the resolutions their 2007 National Conference, which adopted critical resolutions to effectively put local government at the core of service delivery processes in an efficient and effective local government system. The Conference resolutions evolved, through a series of phases, into a 5-year strategic agenda, which is based on four critical pillars including;


·         Strategic profiling – refers to its role in building the profile and image of local government within South Africa as well as in the international arena (both on the African continent and the rest of the world).

·         Support and advice – refers to several functions i.e policy analysis research and monitoring; knowledge sharing and municipal support.

·         Representation – refers to stakeholder engagement (developing relationships with stakeholders); lobbying and advocacy (representing the interests of members in broader debates and programmes) and being an effective employer representative for members[1].


The strategic objectives above are underpinned by internal programmes aimed at strengthening SALGA’s corporate governance and programmes in order to deliver on the three functions listed above[2].  The strategic plan defines the contribution of SALGA in the challenging terrain of constructing a truly developmental local government.


In addition to the 5-year strategic plan, there are numerous problems besetting the institution in relation to financial management and accountability, emanating from the 2006/7 Auditor Generals report. In an attempt to establish solid financial controls SALGA adopted Operation Clean Audit Report (OPCAR) that involves building of internal capacity in terms of legal and compliance functions; performance management function; and organisational strategy and business planning[3].


Budget Analysis


 In accordance with the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) 2008, which does not take into account all sources of revenue generation, provides SALGA with a total revenue of R140 million for the 2008/9 financial year. Revenue for the period between 2007/08 and 2010/11 is set to grow by an average annual of 7.8 per cent, with an increase in transfers for the department of 6.7 per cent over the same period. Regarding projected expenditure between 2007/08 is set to grow by 8.7 per cent. According to the ENE (2008), these increases were necessitated by the 2007 conference resolutions which mandated SALGA to strengthen policy analysis, research and monitoring capacity; strengthen the knowledge sharing programme; develop guidelines in response to issues raised by members; establish structured relationships with stakeholders; and strengthen SALGA’s lobbying and advocacy role[4].


SALGA’s budget breakdown however shows figures with a marked increase as it provides an all-encompassing account of all sources of revenue including levies and bad debt recovery, interest accrued as well as goods and services. SALGA expects a total of R171 million, part of which comes from the membership levies, while R19 million is anticipated to be bad debts recovered and R22 million transfer from the department[5].


In line with 5 year Local Government Strategic Agenda (LGSA), SALGA is charged with the responsibility support capacity building mechanisms and ensuring efficaciousness of ward committees. This responsibility in addition to SALGA’s own strategic objectives requires stronger organisation capacity and more resources for adequate hands-on support. Strengthening organisational capacity is necessary to be able to discharge this responsibility effectively. Notwithstanding these important tasks, the provincial budgets and allocations for critical components such as municipal labour and human resources, and governance and intergovernmental relations seem inadequate. Capacity building and functionality of ward committees are critical tasks that require strong institutional systems as well as sufficient allocations however, 5% and 4% budget allocations for municipal labour and human resources and governance and intergovernmental relations seem insufficient.


Issues for consideration


The 2006/7 Auditor General’s (AG) report raised critical issues about the state of financial management in SALGA. The AG expressed concern about lack of a budget policy which would ensure alignment between the budget and programmes and systems to monitor the actual performance. This is a critical issue in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) which requires alignment of both budget and strategic plans with measurable indicators to ensure maximum performance. The AG also indicated that were institutional weaknesses relating to inadequate internal control systems to ensure prudent financial management and accountability. This resulted in non-compliance with Treasury Regulations as well as relevant legislation. Due to these weaknesses SALGA received a disclaimer for the AG. It crucial therefore to examine progress regarding instituting proper institutional controls to address issues raised by the AG and recommendations from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).


Issues such as risk management, good governance and the internal audit capacity are critically important to be addressed for restoring sound financial management. SALGA has additional responsibilities emanating from the 5 year LGSA as well as resolutions of its 2007 conference. It therefore follows that the institutional capacity and ability to progressively realise these objectives must be revamped. Clarity of purpose and planning are critical in order to achieve the pre-determined strategic objectives. However, it is not immediately clear how SALGA intends to provide hands-on support to member municipalities and performance indicators with specific timeframes is not provided in the strategic plan.



[1] SALGA Strategic Plan (2007 – 2012)

[2] Ibid

[3] Annual report (2006 – 2007)

[4] Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) (2008)

[5] George, X. SALGA Budget Presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government (2008)