THREE IFP-led municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal have been stripped of their executive functions and powers because of poor delivery of services despite its officials earning huge salaries.
uMhlabuyalingana municipality in Zululand and Indaka and Ukhahlamba municipalities in northern KwaZulu-Natal are riddled with financial mismanagement and maladministration.
A forensic investigation has so far shown that a total of R14million could not be accounted for in the uMhlabuyalingana municipality
In Ukhahlamba R20million allocated for housing was utilised irregularly.
MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Nomusa Dube said yesterday the provincial executive council (PEC) of the KwaZulu-Natal government had considered the reports on the three municipalities.
She said the cabinet had resolved to intervene and place the three municipalities "under administration".
Dube said the executive functions and powers allocated to the mayors and responsibilities assigned to the municipal managers had been assumed by the PEC.
"The drastic decision by cabinet is due to the untenable situation that has arisen in these municipalities, resulting in the collapse of administration and seriously compromised good governance," she said.
Dube said the state of governance in uMhlabuyalingana municipality had deteriorated, with the municipality borrowing money to pay staff salaries and service providers.
She said Ukhahlamba failed to discharge its executive obligations.
Dube said finances were in a state of disarray and the municipality struggled to carry out its service delivery mandates.
Indaka municipality had also faced cash-flow challenges and accumulated a deficit of R8,4million.
Dube said the total salary bill of employees accounted for 51percent of the operating expenditure of the municipality.
Dube warned councils that if they refused to cooperate or take the appropriate decisions, she would be left with no other option than to refer to the PEC and request that interventions be changed and councils dissolved.
She stressed that the decisions were taken in the interests of the people who live in these municipalities.
"We also want to make it clear that where there are challenges of such a nature that they compromise service delivery, we will not hesitate to act within the bounds of the law," she said.