out to sTOp riots

THE ministerial task team set up by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka to investigate the causes of recent violent service delivery protests in Mpumalanga started its work yesterday.

The three sections of the team, with each focusing on all three districts in Mpumalanga, are made up of representatives from the national and provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, the department of water affairs and environment, the South African Local Government Association, the South African Workers' Union and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union.

Provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene said yesterday: "During their investigations they will visit each of the municipalities to get first-hand information.

"They will be looking at governance, financial management, service delivery and labour-related matters."

Kunene said the teams had started conducting interviews with a number of stakeholders, including executive mayors, members of the mayoral committees, ward committees, municipal officials, political parties represented in the municipalities, organised labour and community development workers.

The task team will also seek written submissions from organised business, civic organisations and all interested parties.

Members of the task team visited the Ehlanzeni district municipality, the Govan Mbeki local municipality (in the Gert Sibande district) and the Dr JS Moroka municipality (in the Nkangala district) yesterday.

They are expected to conduct their investigations over the next two weeks.

They are also expected to submit a report of their findings to Shiceka by no later than August 21.

"Once the investigations and in-depth analysis have been completed, a turn-around strategy will be developed," Kunene said.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Mpumalanga provincial government met representatives of the Mkhondo residents committee to discuss the progress made in the investigation of allegations by the community against the municipality.

Premier David Mabuza recently put the municipality under administration after protests triggered by allegations of corruption against the mayor and the municipality's councillors.

Mabuza appointed Misaveni Khoza as an administrator after a series of protests against the municipality.