As a proactive and decisive step to provide redress for the dysfunctional UThukela District Municipality, both MEC for Finance, Ms Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni, and MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, accompanied by their senior officials , called for a full council meeting with the Audit Committee, in order to  to present their detailed analysis of the current financial and governance  challenges and proposed recommendations aimed at  turning around the current deplorable state of governance. 

The reports presented by both departments highlight an abysmal operational culture characterized by glaring weaknesses in financial management and governance which has resulted in the UThukela District Municipality receiving qualified audit reports for the past 5 years.

The reports further reveal poor financial management practices, lack of co-operation with the District Audit Committee, KZN Treasury and Cogta units responsible for support to municipalities, provision of poor and unreliable financial reports, Administrator is not submitting nor providing the Financial Recovery Plan to the Audit Committee, lack of implementation of the Audit Committee recommendations, poor organizational capacity and governance, weak internal controls , 40 percent average collection rate, among many anomalies, which are indicative of a municipality in serious financial distress.

Also highlighted during the engagement was the rift and breakdown of working relations that the council has with the Administrator appointed by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs which was also sanctioned by KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council.  

The Mayor of UThukela District Municipality, Inkosi Ntandoyenkosi Shabalala said “as a municipality, we are going to revise the organogram and address staff shortage and staff performance. We want to do this in order to restore operational culture of the municipality. We appreciate this intervention and we hope to get our house in order to ensure that we improve service delivery”.

MEC Sithole-Moloi said their mandate is to ensure that all municipalities are functioning optimally in line with their legislated mandate in order to ensure effective service delivery to the communities the serve.

“It is in our interest to assist UThukela District Municipality and ensure that service delivery is not affected. We will continue to provide support to this municipality until it comes out of administration. Communities of UThukela District are entitled to uninterrupted service delivery and it is our resolve to make this happen”, said MEC Sithole-Moloi.

Presiding over the engagement, MEC Nkonyeni said that KZN Treasury and the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs have a task to oversee the functioning of all municipalities and that there is need to ensure that these two departments are able to work cooperatively with all municipalities in order to ensure that service delivery improves at local levels.

“We want to see a drastic improvement in the functioning of this municipality, but UThukela District Municipality, from leadership down to staff, have to co-operate with structures that are meant to provide support to it. We want to fully support UThukela District Municipality until it is not listed among municipalities that are dysfunctional,” said MEC Nkonyeni.

Nkonyeni said the engagement with UThukela District Municipality will continue until all the operational and financial governance hindrances are resolved.

Issued jointly by KZN Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal.