Struggling Ditsobotla municipality disbanded, placed under administration

Province finally takes decision on dysfunctional council

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
Lichtenburg - Ditsobotla municipality.
Lichtenburg - Ditsobotla municipality.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The North West provincial government has resolved to disband the distressed Ditsobotla local municipality.

According to insiders, the decision was taken during an executive council meeting on Tuesday that was attended by the majority of MECs in the province.

Premier Bushy Maape was expected to make the announcement on Wednesday.

However, one insider said co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Linah Miga still needed to inform officials, mayor Mercy Mokgothu and speaker Mpho Lekaba and acting municipal manager Tsietsi Shema before publicly announcing the exco's decision.

The province's decision comes after calls by Cosatu in the North West for provincial co-operative governance department to invoke Section 139 (1) (c) of the constitution, effectively placing the municipality under administration.

In a statement, Cosatu provincial secretary Kopano Konopi commended the provincial government for taking action in the municipality.

"This move is an indication of the government’s serous consideration of the interests and needs of the communities who reside in this municipality.

"Since the year 2021, this council has been marred with infighting amongst the councillors. Their bickering, political and personal differences, have compromised progress and service delivery," he said.

Ditsobotla was unable to pay the salaries of its staff, including councillors and senior staff members, for August.

A bitter fight between two acting municipal managers over the city's finances also resulted in finance MEC Motlalepula Rosho to instruct National Treasury not to release the municipality's first tranche of its equitable share.

The municipality has had 14 municipal managers, four mayors and four speakers, in the last six years  – which resulted in a total collapse of governance.

Continuing, Kopano said the conduct of ANC councillors had put the party into disrepute, adding they should be dealt with.

"[The ANC] should ensure that any of its members implicated in activities that contributed to the current status of the council, are excluded from the list of potential candidates.

"We appeal to law enforcement agencies to closely monitor the situation in that municipality. Judging from past events, there’s a high probability of chaos, which might be driven by some anarchists," Kopano said.

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