Budget Vote 14: Department of Local Government 2024/25 | Western Cape Government


Budget Vote 14: Department of Local Government 2024/25

26 March 2024


Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to present the 2024/25 budget for the Department of Local Government today.

Speaker, when local governments are in the news in South Africa, it almost always bad news. Service delivery protests, water interruptions, sewage flowing in the streets, waste piling up in town centres, potholes, electricity debt to Eskom, unstable coalitions, motions of no confidence, Auditor General qualified reports and disclaimers.

Speaker, the above are all examples of man-made disasters. But we also experience natural disasters in local governments. Looking back over the past year in our province:

  • R3.5billion worth of infrastructure was destroyed in just 2 flooding events in June and September of 2023.
  • We suffered extensive damages along our coastline due to storm surges in 2023. Garden Route District calculated this to be more than R46 million.
  • Currently we are faced with an extremely busy fire season, which has stretched our firefighting resources to the limits several times already. Our fire services have since December 2023 responded to 9500 fires, which burned 135 000 hectares.

Speaker, when things go wrong, we experience it there where we live and work. In our towns and cities. If local governments are not functioning, people suffer. This is the context in which the Department of Local Government works to support and enable our municipalities to deliver services to our residents.


Speaker, the Western Cape Department of Local Government is doing its job very well. This is reflected in the performance of our municipalities.

Our own research at the end of 2023 indicates that 25 out of the 30 municipalities are stable and perform well when measured against council functionality, administrative stability, service delivery performance, and financial sustainability.

Other government entities and independent research organisations make similar findings:

  • 27 out of 30 clean audits from the Auditor General were achieved during the latest reporting cycle.
  • A total of 15 Blue Drop Certifications in the 2023 Blue Drop Report of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
  • Good Governance Africa is the latest research organisation that finds that in all municipal categories (Metro, District, Secondary city, large town and Small-town) municipalities from the Western Cape are the best. Swartland Local Municipality is recognised as the best municipality in South Africa.

Speaker, I was not surprised to read the reaction from some of the opposition parties on the latest findings by Good Governance Africa. According to these opposition parties, clean audits and accolades for good service delivery does nothing for the poorest of the poor.

Speaker, these opposition voices do have a point. Because it is true that poverty and inequality is in plain sight for all to see. In the Western Cape, and in South Africa.  We must be realistic with our expectations on what can be achieved by a local municipality within the bigger context of our country. We never give the ANC enough credit for destroying service delivery institutions in its 30 years of ruling our country.

As far back as 2011, the National Development Plan identified poverty and inequality as the core challenge South Africa must address if we are to prosper and develop as a country:

  • In 2010, 15 million people received social grants.
  • In 2011, Unemployment stood at 21.4%.
  • In 2015, our Gini coefficient/factor, a measurement of inequality, was 0.65 (According to Gini, 0 represents an equal society, and 1 is the most unequal.) making us the country with the highest inequality in income distribution in the world.

Now in 2024, the picture looks even worse:

  • Our Gini coefficient/factor is up to 0.67, maintaining our status as the most unequal society on the planet. Our country has an unemployment rate higher than 30%. According to some sources, this is also the highest unemployment rate in the world.
  • The result of this is that in South Africa, 8 million taxpayers are supporting 27 million people (18 million social grants and 9 million Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grants) who rely on social grants to survive. That is roughly 45% of the country’s population.

Speaker, so yes, our achievements do not say that everything is perfect. But the detractors of our achievements should also have an honest look in the mirror and reflect on their contributions in solving the challenges our country, and our province, is facing.

Speaker, with the above as context, the Department of Local Government sees a budget allocation of R440.4 million in 2024/25. Earmarked allocations for 2024/25 reflects the Department’s commitment to address the challenges facing us and providing support to local governments for them to provide services to our citizens.

SIDAFF: R6 million

The Sustainable Infrastructure Development and Finance Facility (SIDAFF) Programme is a partnership that focus on infrastructural development in secondary cities within the Western Cape to boost the economy of the province. As part of the support, we help to ensure that the municipalities meet the international criteria required to attract funding for large catalytic projects. The budget allocation provides for dedicated Project Management support to ensure the successful rollout of this Programme.

Projects of R.4 billion have already been identified and are currently in different stages of development. These include:

  • Bulk water and wastewater projects are in progress for Overstrand, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Swartland, and Saldanha.
  • A 30MW solar plant together with a 100MWh energy storage facility will be developed in phases in George.
  • In Cape Winelands, a new regional landfill site at a cost of R95 million has been identified as a SIDAFF project. The project team is currently approaching potential international funders for this project.


Disaster Management: R9.6 million

Speaker, I have already mentioned the damages suffered in the past year due to natural disasters. We can add the recent electricity outage in the Karoo to this list. The towns of Laingsburg, Ladismith, Prince Albert and several small communities in the Karoo were without electricity for almost 2 weeks in February this year. This was our first experience with what a blackout represents. In this instance fewer than 50 000 people were affected, and through the coordination of the Disaster Management Centre, all Western Cape departments stepped up to support those communities.

Speaker, we need to be ready when 7 million people in this province must survive without electricity for weeks if we are to experience a countrywide blackout. The R89 million we spent on backup generators for essential services in the previous financial year came to very good use during this crisis.

The earmarked allocation for Disaster Management will go towards new technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, for anticipatory disaster risk management tools.

Energy: R77.5million

Speaker, the Karoo outage just reconfirmed the need for the Western Cape to invest in energy security. As such, R67 million is allocated to pilot renewable energy solutions in municipalities. R3 million goes towards the provision of specialist professional service providers to conduct investigations and assess the potential of renewable projects. We are allocating R3.6 million towards the Municipal Electricity Master Planning Programme, and R5.7 million is allocated for additional critical skills to support the Energy Programme in the department.

Water resilience: R31.6million

Speaker, living with unreliable electricity is bad, but when water dries up, it is worse. What must the world think of us when they see that Johannesburg, the economic powerhouse of South Africa, cannot provide water to its residents? The situation is made worse by the fact that the crisis is not due to a lack of water, but due to bad management of the water that is available. This is not a natural disaster. This is a man-made disaster.

Speaker, the Western Cape has a growing population, and that has direct consequences for our water security. According to the latest Census data, the province saw population growth of 27% over the past decade, now standing at 7.2 million people. This number is expected to grow to 8 million people by 2030. According to the Provincial Economic Review and Outlook (PERO), we can expect a population of 10 million people by 2040.

Our 15-year water plan is currently being reviewed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, and we are training officials in all our municipalities to use the tools developed in the Water Plan. These tools enable them to plan for future water security using data on population growth, economic growth, water sources and water infrastructure. This budget allocates R31.6 million to strengthen existing initiatives and to explore new innovative responses to improve our future water resilience.

Speaker, in addition to these priorities, the Department will:

  • Continue to support capacity building within municipalities, for which we are allocating R5 million in this 2024/25 budget.
  • An amount of R6.5 million will go towards drought support, and
  • R2 million will be invested to strengthen our Fire and Rescue Services.
  • R2.1 million is allocated for research, policy development and support to traditional councils to facilitate the implementation of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act.
  • R5.9 million goes towards strengthening municipal support interventions together with our Provincial Treasury, in accordance with Section 139 of the Constitution.
  • R7 million will be invested in our Disaster Management Centre’s audio-visual infrastructure.
  • R11.5 million is budgeted for aerial firefighting. The current wildfire season has once again confirmed that this expensive method of firefighting is the correct approach. Although expensive, we have had no human casualties so far, and the value of property that was saved from destruction this season runs in the billions of Rands.

Speaker, an amount of R230 million goes towards our personnel component. Allow me to thank HOD Paulse, his senior management and all the staff at the Department of Local Government. I have been working with you for the past 3 political terms, and we have experienced some very intense challenges during this time. We have had several natural disasters:

  • The Knysna fires in 2017, which claimed 7 lives, 16 000 hectares of plantations, fynbos, and urban areas, resulting in damages of billions of rands.
  • Who can forget the Day Zero Drought of 2018/19?
  • We had to face COVID-19, which changed our world fundamentally.
  • We faced the first-ever Category 9 storm, as classified by the South African Weather Services, in September 2023.
  • The current wildfire season that has stretched our firefighting abilities to the limit.

South Africa is in an election year in 2024. Some analysts are calling this our “Post-94 watershed” election. We know first hand the challenges of coalition councils. We experienced the man-made disaster that unfolded in Knysna over the December holidays. We still need to need to find the best strategies to spend less time in court, due to non-compliance by Municipalities, and more time focussing on actual service delivery on the ground in some of our coalition councils.

Colleagues, so please accept my profound thanks and appreciation for all your hard work and the dedication that goes into facing these challenges. The work is not easy. But this work is extremely important. I thank you.



Media Enquiries: 

Wouter Kriel

Spokesperson for Minister Anton Bredell

Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning

Mobile: 079 694 3085

Tel:  021483 2820

email:  Wouter.kriel@westerncape.gov.za