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MEC says inefficiency and mismanagement in five municipalities leaves him little choice but to take control to meet the people's expectations

By unknown | Dec 11, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for local government, Mike Mabuyakhulu, has taken over the administrative control of five local municipalities and a water authority in the province.

At a media briefing held in Durban yesterday, Mabuyakhulu said his interventions - approved by the provincial government - included Impendle, Kokstad, Umzinyathi, Amajuba and Newcastle municipalities.

His office will also control the Uthukela water authority that was jointly run by Umzinyathi-Amajuba and Newcastle.

He said they were mainly ANC-run municipalities.

"Interventions in Impendle and Kokstad municipalities, and into the water service authority, follow months of investigations and observations by my department.

"Investigations were prompted by concerns about the municipalities and the functioning of the uThukela water entity and its ability to deliver basic water services," Mabuyakhulu said.

He said in the case of Impendle, the council and its administration of the municipality have not functioned effectively for some time, and particularly since the 2006 elections.

"The council has shown a continued decline in its financial management and administration, and is in serious and persistent breach of its obligations under local government legislation," he said.

Mabuyakhulu said that for the past 18 months, the Impendle municipality has been effectively dysfunctional because of the absence of senior management, including the municipal manager.

"Some senior employees have resigned or were dismissed after forensic investigations and disciplinary enquiries revealed poor governance and maladministration. The council has failed to recruit and retain the municipal and senior managers to administer the affairs of the municipality despite our investment of R2,7million targeted at improving the financial position and enhancing the administration of the municipality," Mabuyakhulu said.

He said the Greater Kokstad municipality was in serious and persistent breach of local government legislation and has also shown decline in financial management.

He said the municipal council and executive committee has displayed poor financial governance and oversight. One of the key issues was their failure to report serious financial problems to him, the MEC said.

"Our investigations also revealed that they were experiencing poor municipal cash flow and there was no comprehensive financial management plan, no system to manage debt collection and no human resource planning.

"They also increased the allowances of councillors which were approved unlawfully," he said.

Mabuyakhulu said he received numerous complaints about non-delivery of water services from the communities under Amajuba, Umzinyathi and Newcastle.

He said residents, rate payers, workers, businesses, churches, non-governmental organisations and development committees held a number of marches to protest against high water tariffs and a lack of service delivery.

"In respect of all these problems, we have appointed a multi-disciplinary task team of specialists with the necessary expertise and knowledge in the relevant disciplines to undertake a forensic investigation and make recommendations about the way forward," Mabuyakhulu said.


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