Councillors to face the music after KZN municipality placed under administration

Co-operative and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Ncube-Dube.
Co-operative and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Ncube-Dube.

A KwaZulu-Natal municipality named after the former chairwoman of the African Union Commission‚ Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma‚ and which has been plagued by several political killings has been placed under administration because of councillor disputes.

Co-operative and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Ncube-Dube announced in a statement on Wednesday that the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma municipality in the KZN Midlands had been placed under administration because of a “breakdown in discipline and decision- making”.

The decision followed a special meeting by the provincial executive council led by Premier Willies Mchunu to intervene in the municipality‚ which has failed to make a number of executive decisions including the appointment of senior officials and a municipal manager.

“The breakdown in discipline and decision-making in this council has necessitated a direct intervention by the provincial executive‚” said Dube-Ncube.

She said the municipality had repeatedly failed to appoint a municipal manager “and‚ in doing so‚ paralysed the administrative capacity of the municipality to manage its affairs and deliver services to its residents”.

“Our job is to ensure that all municipalities in KZN function optimally. We cannot and will not tolerate behaviour by councillors that flagrantly disregards the code of conduct and this is why this intervention is taking place here‚” said Dube-Ncube.

In October last year‚ a politically-connected civil servant in the municipality‚ Nathi Ngcobo‚ was gunned down in cold blood in Nkumba village outside Bulwer in the KZN Midlands.

Ngcobo‚ who was an employee and councillor clerk at the municipality‚ was a member of the same branch as Dlamini-Zuma‚ and his killing took place not far from his home.

His shooting came two days after he had confided to his branch secretary‚ Xolani Zamisa‚ that he feared for his life.

The Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Municipality is an administrative area in the ANC’s troubled Harry Gwala District‚ where six other people were murdered in apparent political hits since April last year.

The most high-profile of those political hits was the shooting of former ANCYL secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa on July 13. Magaqa was recovering in hospital‚ but died later after complaining of stomach pains.

“We want to send a strong message that communities will not accept that we have in municipalities defocused councillors and administrators that are not prioritising effective and efficient functioning of their municipalities. We must remember that people have entrusted us to deliver speedily on their basic services‚” said Dube-Ncube.

Ministerial representative Dumisani Vilakazi‚ a seasoned local government expert who has served in various municipalities‚ as a municipal manager and administrator‚ has been appointed to develop a recovery plan and oversee the capacitation of councillors.

He will also conduct an evaluation of decisions taken in council and assess whether they prejudiced the municipality.

Dube-Ncube said this may lead to those who were part of the wrongdong paying from their own pockets.

The KZN cabinet also took a decision to write to all political parties represented in the municipality to inform them of the conduct of their councillors so that they can investigate and consider disciplinary actions against their councillors

Dlamni-Zuma‚ who lost the ANC presidency to Cyril Ramaphosa‚ is now Minister in the Presidency for Planning‚ Monitoring and Evaluation.

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