“We are very happy with the political and administrative stability in this municipality, our only concern is the revenue collection management which has compromised the financial position of the uThukela District Municipality”. These were the opening words by KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube, as she announced a section section 139(1)(b) intervention into the affairs of uThukela District Municipality.
Dube-Ncube addressed the full council of uThukela District Municipality where she emphasised the role of the province and national government which is to support municipality. This intervention must be understood within the context of assisting this council to improve its treasury capacity. We are happy about the stability that exists at a leadership level. This support intervention is intended to help this council improve good governance, sound financial management and organisational capability.
“The level of performance in the financial area is below our expectations and we are concerned about the impact of this on service delivery. It is these pressing challenges that have necessitated this intervention and it is the only way we can be able to support because it is obvious this municipality will not be able to navigate these challenges on its own,” said KZN MEC for Cogta Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
The recent audit opinion report by the Auditor-General as well as the financial liquidity state of this municipality is among the reasons that brought the urgency of this intervention.
“We want to help you improve the financial management controls and processes which have led to non-compliance, compounded by rapidly depleting cash reserves which limit expansion and development and thus impeding crucial service delivery at uThukela,” said Dube-Ncube.
“We must also undertake a campaign to engage the community to pay for municipal services as this is among the major causes of financial distress in this municipality.
During this intervention we will improve the functioning of oversight committees such as the Municipal Public Accounts Committee and others and ensure that they are adequately resourced to perfom their functions. The same goes for uThukela’ Audit Committee” said Dube-Ncube.
“We also want to address issues related to labour disputes and community protests. We also want to implement consequence management to those employees who are involve in sabotaging municipal infrastructure and service delivery leading to water disruption and negative impact on the local economy” said Dube-Ncube.
This intervention must be viewed as a measure to support and develop a recovery plan that will help this municipality emerge from the current challenges it is facing.
Going forward, KZN Cogta is therefore assuming uThukela council’s executive functions related to financial management; the functions specified in sections 51, 66 and 67 of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act and the Water Services Authority function of the municipality. The department is also appointing a Ministerial Representative to prepare and implement a recovery plan for the municipality.
“Our representative will similarly ensure implementation of findings arising from any investigations into fraud or maladministration or corruption and to initiate new investigations where necessary and ensure implementation of all projects undertaken by the municipality, including unblocking projects that have stalled,” said Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube introduced Mr Ayanda Makhanya as the Administrator. Mr Makhanya is a seasoned local government expert and legal guru who has served in various senior position in municipalities in various provinces.
Dube-Ncube urged all councillors, staff and stakeholders to give the Administrator the support and for everyone to work together to turn the situation around.