In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Nomusa Dube, has taken over the running of the troubled and cash-strapped uMsunduzi municipality in Pietermaritzburg.
Dube said the decision came after her department made submissions about the "untenable situation" at the poorly-run and poorly-led municipality.
"With immediate effect, I assume the powers as allocated to me by the Municipal Structures Act," Dube said.
"The aim is to ensure that we bring stability to the municipality. Financial reporting had deteriorated and compromised service delivery. This had placed the municipality in a state of turmoil.
"Too much is at stake for us because the municipality is the capital city of our province and our economic hub."
Last month the municipality lost its application for the status of a metro. Its net available cash fell from R120million in 2007-08 to a mere R1,7million in 2008-09.
"As a result the cash coverage ratio has dropped, indicating that the municipality only has sufficient cash to fund approximately one week of its operations," she said.
Dube said there had been denials from the municipal administrators about the allegations of financial problems.
"We had to act in the spirit of cooperative governance, which is why this municipality is now under the MEC's supervision," she said.
She said those who had done wrong would certainly be prosecuted.
"We will begin a process of looking at various areas, and where people might have contravened legislation and transgressed the law, legal action would be taken.
"Whoever is found to have brought the municipality to the situation it is in will have to face the full might of the law, otherwise we would not have done justice," she said.
She indicated that after appointing a three-member team early last month the municipality's bank balance is well and the council will be able to render the necessary services to the people.
On allegations by opposition parties that the municipality was sitting under a damning forensic report, Dube said: "My department gave the forensic report to the municipality to implement and they failed to do so.
"We reminded them that they would have to implement recommendations from the report.
"And fortunately it is one of the urgent matters that had been tabled in their last meeting and they will be dealing with it going forward."