NewsSpeeches

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SECTION 139(1)b INTERVENTION AT UMKHANYAKUDE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY BY S E HLOMUKA  KZN MEC FOR COGTA

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SECTION 139(1)b INTERVENTION AT UMKHANYAKUDE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY

BY S E HLOMUKA 

KZN MEC FOR COGTA

VIRTUAL SESSION: 16 FEBRUARY 2021

 

Honourable Speaker and Councillors

 

We have called this virtual meeting today to address you on a very important matter of ensuring good governance, sound financial management and efficient service delivery as a set of prerequisites for long-term stability of this district municipality. 

 

The residents of this district rightly expect a well-run entity but what they actually see has a lot to be desired. It is therefore our duty as Cogta, following the resolution of the Provincial Executive, to make an important announcement before this council regarding the immediate future of this municipality. 

 

We are here to support and assist, not to point fingers and penalise, because we respect the sphere of local government as a separate and independent arm of government. uMkhanyakude district is one of the jewels of our province and we wish it to shine again.

 

Purpose of the address

 

The purpose of today’s address is to apprise this council of the Provincial Executive’s decision to intervene in this district municipality in terms of section 139(1)b of the Constitution to restore this municipality’s functionality in terms of proper governance, administration and, by extension, service delivery. 

 

You will recalled that the Provincial Executive intervened in this municipality in October 2015, also in terms of Section 139(1)b of the Constitution. That intervention was informed by the assessment that for a number of years, this municipality had been limping from one problem to another. There were persistent governance, financial and service delivery challenges that the municipality had been unable to resolve despite support from the provincial and national governments. 

 

This municipality subsequently made good progress in all key performance areas that informed the decision of the Provincial Executive to intervene here in 2015. As a result of these developments, the Provincial Executive terminated the intervention in November 2017. Two years later, it appears that this municipality has slipped back to instability and dysfunctionality.

 

Background and summary

 

The decision to institute this intervention is the culmination of Cogta’s previous efforts to address long-term dysfunctionality at uMkhanyakude district whose governance system has suffered due to chronic internal divisions amongst to the extent that it has failed to convene council for three consecutive scheduled meetings. The council’s failure to convene meetings has had serious implications for the administration and service delivery as crucial decisions cannot be made. 

 

Some of the consequences of the frequent and persistent breakdown of council meetings at uMkhanyakude due to internal divisions within this council include the council’s failure to table completed forensic investigation reports or the municipality’s precarious cash flow position and resultant persistent failure to meet financial commitments.

 

Some of the consequences of the frequent and persistent breakdown of council meetings at uMkhanyakude due to internal divisions within this council include the council’s failure to table completed forensic investigation reports or the municipality’s precarious cash flow position and resultant persistent failure to meet financial commitments.

 

This municipality has also exhibited failure to address matters raised by the Auditor-General for the 2018/2019 financial year, poor revenue collection, inadequate credit control measures, poor project management and supervision or under-expenditure on repairs and maintenance due to the fact that it does not have a planned and preventative maintenance programme in place, nor funds to finance such a programme.

 

We are now of the firm view that there are no prospects for recovery from the breakdown in governance in the near future and that the effects of this are detrimental to service delivery. Such an environment warrants a strengthened role of the Provincial Government which is available under Section 139 of the Constitution.

 

Way forward

 

Going forward, I as MEC for Cogta, am therefore announcing an intervention in terms of Section 139(1)b of the Constitution, 1996, at uMkhanyakude district to assume the functions specified in terms of Sections 51, 56 and 57 of the Municipal Systems Act as well as those related to financial management. 

 

To this end, we are appointing a representative to be based at this municipality who will prepare and implement a recovery plan to: 

  • ensure the implementation of financial systems, policies and procedures including preparation and implementation of cost-cutting measures,
  • establish and act as chairperson of the interim finance committee to monitor and manage the cash flow of the municipality, approve or dis-approve purchase requisitions and to ensure that the municipality’s cash position is not overdrawn,
  • implement governance systems and procedures, including oversight over the administration and ratification of decisions taken by the council, the Executive Committee, committees, Municipal Manager and Section 56 Managers in terms of delegated or original authority,
  • ensure the implementation of findings arising from any investigations into fraud or maladministration or corruption,
  • ensure the finalisation of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure reports and any consequence management emanating from the outcome of the reports tabled with the council, and
  • institute all disciplinary processes that will be deemed necessary.

 

It is time for a fresh start in this municipality. After a long period of instability and poor results, the people of uMkhanyakude deserve that we give them a municipality they can be proud of through our hard work and flawless performance. The challenge for us here is to make sure that this municipality will soon live up to its promise of maintaining infrastructure, including roads, managing waste and delivering basic services to its communities. 

 

As an elected municipal council, you are now urged to accept this new temporary arrangement and cooperate with our ministerial representative to ensure a smooth running of this municipality and its return to normality until this intervention is formally called off.

 

I thank you!