KZN MEC hauls municipalities to court to make them toe the line

12 September 2018 - 18:44
By Bongani Mthethwa
KZN's cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube./Thuli Dlamini
Image: Thuli Dlamini KZN's cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube./Thuli Dlamini

KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube is resorting to the courts to force accountability in some of the municipalities in the province.

Dube-Ncube has taken the Nkandla and Mthonjaneni municipalities to court to challenge the appointments of municipal managers who do not have suitable qualifications while she is suing Nquthu and Msinga municipalities for illegally renewing contracts of senior managers.

In a statement issued on Wednesday‚ Dube-Ncube said: “Our record in enforcing accountability from municipal councils and officials demonstrates that we will do whatever it takes to hold people and institutions to account. Sometimes this means resorting to court action. It is‚ of course‚ not a preferred course of action but rather a measure of last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.”

All the municipalities that have incurred the wrath of the cooperative and traditional affairs MEC are run by the IFP which made a stunning comeback during the August 2016 local government elections‚ winning back several KwaZulu-Natal municipalities with outright majorities.

However‚ Dube-Ncube has recently resorted to the courts to enforce various employment regulations in the municipalities. For instance‚ her department has taken Mthonjaneni and Nkandla to court to challenge the appointment of municipal managers on the basis of insufficient qualifications.

Similarly‚ Nquthu and Msinga have been sued for illegal renewals of contracts of senior managers.

“It must be pointed out that all our court cases against municipalities are in defence of regulations by which all municipalities are expected to abide‚ such as minimum qualifications requirements for municipal managers. We always try to reason with municipalities before we resort to courts. Sometimes the latter is the only option‚” said Dube-Ncube.

But she is likely to face fierce resistance from the IFP‚ which has accused her of adopting a “factional approach” when it comes to dealing with municipalities under its control.

IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature Blessed Gwala said: "What makes ministers and MECs in all provincial or national departments resort to court is because state resources would be used. Who is running the municipalities because‚ as far we understand‚ municipalities are not the branches of Cogta?

“Indeed‚ there are clauses which make Cogta to follow compliance‚ but the question is‚ what criteria is the MEC of Cogta in the province using‚ because in other municipalities run by the ANC we have similar circumstances but she has never gone to court?”