24 February 2017

South Africa: NCOP Approval to Dissolve Nquthu Local Municipality Welcomed By Select Committee On Cogta

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The Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has welcomed Thursday's resolution of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to approve the recommendation to dissolve the Nquthu local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

"We hope the NCOP resolution to approve the dissolution of the Nquthu council will help bring stability in that municipality and lead to a functional uMzinyathi District municipality, which has been adversely affected by this instability," said Committee Chairperson Mr Jihad Mohapi.

The Committee's decision to support the recommendation of the KZN Provincial Executive was taken after the Committee's visit to Nquthu this week, where it conducted a fact-finding mission to ascertain the merits of a notice submitted by KZN MEC for Cogta, Ms Nomusa Dube, to have this troubled municipality dissolved.

Tabling its report, the Committee indicated that, of all the stakeholders it engaged during this process, only the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) opposed the dissolution. Stakeholders such as the African National Congress (ANC), organised labour as well as women and youth formations supported the dissolution. The Democratic Alliance, on the other hand, said they did not support the dissolution, but were willing to abide by any resolution the NCOP will take regarding this matter. Meanwhile, the National Freedom Party (NFP) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) could not make an input on the matter because they are both involved in court processes over the legitimacy of representatives. The South African Local Government Association (Salga) was invited to make a written submission, as they did not have an official representative at this meeting, though they were invited.

The dissolution in Nquthu local municipality is in terms of Section 139 (1) (c) of the Constitution and was submitted to the NCOP on 08 February 2017 by MEC Dube on behalf of the KZN Provincial Executive Committee, in line with the requirements of Section (139) (3) of the constitution. This municipality was last year placed under provincial administration, in terms of Section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. That intervention did not yield any results.

According to the Chairperson, the challenges in this municipality date back to August 2016. "Subsequent to the 2016 local government elections, the Nquthu Local Municipality was, like every municipality within the Republic, expected to constitute its own Council in compliance with Section 29 (2) of the Local Government Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Ac No. 117 of 1998) within a period of 14 days and enable the uMzinyathi District Municipality to constitute its own Council within 14 days thereafter. To date, this has not been complied with by the Nquthu Local Municipality, thus creating a problem for the uMzinyathi District Municipality," said Mr Mohapi.

Mr Mohapi added that both municipalities therefore do not have a functional Municipal Council, a statutory, body corporate responsible for municipal political leadership, policy making and leadership in the delivery of services to the local communities. As such, the Committee's agrees with the KZN Provincial Executive Council (PEC) that dissolving this municipality is the right thing to do.

"The Committee took the decision to recommend this dissolution after it satisfied itself of the substantive evidence supporting this dissolution as well as the fact that the KZN PEC had complied with procedural and Constitutional imperatives when handling this matter," said Mr Mohapi.

The dissolution was voted for by all nine provinces during Thursday's NCOP debate over the matter.

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