KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has exercised its constitutional prerogative to directly intervene in the governance and management of Mtubatuba and Richmond local municipalities. It is for the first time that a direct intervention in terms of section 139(1)b of the constitution has been implemented in two municipalities in a single day.
“These interventions mean that the Provincial Government will take over the executive functions of these two municipalities temporarily to restore them to full functionality. This is a measure of last resort and we have decided to intervene at Mtubatuba and Richmond after all other attempts at support had failed,” said KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Despite Cogta’s continuous and intensive support, the Mtubatuba Council and administration had struggled to rescue the municipality from financial distress, governance and organisational challenges which have negatively impacted service delivery. Mtubatuba has a history of instability, political infighting and public protests. The department had instituted similar interventions at Mtubatuba in the past.
“This time, our intervention is in response to Mtubatuba Council’s inability to meet repeatedly due to a lack of quorum and the municipality’s failure to adopt the annual report, including the annual financial statements, audit report and audit response plan. Mtubatuba’s reckless spending now also indicates that the municipality will soon not have sufficient money to fund its operations,” said Dube-Ncube.
KZN Cogta is also concerned about Mtubatuba’s notable failure to effectively deal with the long outstanding proliferation of refuse matter, particularly in the towns of Mtubatuba and St Lucia. The municipality likewise continues to operate unlicensed refuse dumps and is constantly under threat of closure from the national Department of Environmental Affairs.
At Richmond, KZN Cogta’s intervention is due to ongoing dysfunctionality where the municipal leadership and management have collectively failed to ensure political and administrative stability for an extended period of time with various parties resorting to litigation to resolve internal matters. These developments are adversely affecting the operations of the municipality and its service delivery to communities.
“There have been allegations of maladministration, fraud and corruption against senior managers at Richmond. Similarly, labour protests, work stoppages and general safety concerns have prevented the Auditor General from completing the audit for the 2017/2018 financial year at Richmond. Political tensions are evident here and impacting negatively on service delivery,” said Dube-Ncube.
KZN Cogta’s has voiced its concerns about the financial mismanagement at Richmond which is evidenced by a long litany of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, unspent conditional grants, flouted public procurement procedures and a lack of internal controls. The department has provided support and guidance to the municipality but these efforts have not yielded the desired results.
The interventions at Mtubatuba and Richmond mean that KZN Cogta will be appointing ministerial representatives to prepare and implement recovery plans to ensure the implementation of financial systems, policies and procedures, including preparation and implementation of cost-cutting measures. The administrators will also implement governance systems and procedures, including proper oversight.
For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403, or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882