The purpose of this article is to reflect on the findings of a local government sector-wide technical skills audit. A mixed-method research design was followed in both a positivist and interpretivist scientific paradigm to conduct the survey in local, district and metropolitan municipalities. Quantitative and qualitative data were processed and thematic analyses were done per respondent and participant category to obtain rich descriptions of current technical skills challenges and skills development priorities in local government. From the empirical survey it is evident that significant technical skills shortages exist, especially in rural district and local municipalities. This severely compromises the delivery of the four basic technical services, namely water provisioning, waste management, sanitation and sewerage, and electricity.