Municipalities pivotal in rebuilding SA. Here’s how they can do ...

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Municipalities pivotal in rebuilding SA. Here’s how they can do their bit

The ripple effects from recent unrest will be far-reaching. This is how we can overcome them, starting at local level

Empril Mathew

The recent unrest in parts of SA was one of the lowest points in its adolescent democracy. The appalling news was relayed across the globe and the brand image of the country has taken a knock. In addition to the unfortunate loss of lives and livelihoods, such an impactful event is expected to hit the economy hard and denigrate SA as an investment destination. The tremors of the unrest are expected to reverberate across multiple sectors in time to come.

A municipality’s fate is directly connected to the fate of the country and vice versa. Municipalities are among the few organs of the state that directly interact with the common citizens. Hence, they will also be the first to feel the effects of such events and brace for impact on multiple fronts.

One of the primary priorities of a municipality is to nurture and retain its large consumer groups (LCGs), primarily businesses and industries within its geographical limits. This is because the LCGs bring in the lion’s share of municipal revenues and consume the majority of services. Often, there are residents of the municipality who are directly or indirectly dependent on these LCGs for their livelihoods. The unrest will profoundly impact some of these customers due to direct impact (such as properties burnt or looted) or indirect impact (such as interruptions in the production value chain). These customers will potentially fail to meet their current and historical debt obligations to the municipality...

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