20 March 2019

South Africa: KZN Municipalities On the Mend After Section 139 Intervention

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has approved the termination of the section 139 (1)(b) interventions issued to Emadlangeni and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma local municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on Tuesday said the termination was due to progress made by the two municipalities in implementing recovery plans.

The ministry said Cogta Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has hailed the two municipalities for the improvements made in governance and administration, as well as financial management, leading them to being moved out of being under administration.

The Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the NCOP tabled the recommendation for the termination.

"Emadlangeni Local Municipality was placed under section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution on 18 January 2017 following widespread instability after the 2016 Local Government Elections. The instability, which also affected its financial status, persisted even when the province intervened. This led the Provincial Executive Council (PEC) to intervene.

"Under administration, the fortunes of the municipality have changed and as a result, all six ward committees are functional and the municipality has not experienced any service delivery protests," the Ministry said.

The ministry said there is a stable financial environment, with current assets of R37 323 148 against liabilities of R17 639 351, showing a healthy financial balance.

"The municipality does not have an overdraft or long term debts, and a debt collection rate standing at 80%. Under administration, the municipality had filled all senior manager posts and councillors and oversight committees have been trained."

In terms of consequence management, the PEC suspended the Director of Technical Services earlier this year and he is due to face a disciplinary tribunal later this month. An investigation was conducted following allegations of serious misconduct relating to the authorisation of payments for work that had not been done and the recommendations are now out.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Local Municipality is a successor to KwaSani and Ingwe Local Municipalities, which were di-established during the re-demarcation process in 2016. Ingwe Local Municipality had serious institutional governance issues, which spilled into the newly created Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Local Municipality.

"The main issue was the inability of the new council to appoint a municipal manager and also fill three senior manager posts of Community Services, Development and Town Planning as well as Public Works and Basic Services. The municipality had budgeted R 102 694 754 towards capital expenditure, 95% of which was spent by year-end mainly on roads, electricity and community facilities (halls and crèches)," said the ministry.

In the second quarter of the 2018/19 financial year (September - December), the council and its committees were assessed and found to be functional by KZN Cogta.

A municipal manager was appointed last year June and the three other senior managers. All management policies are in place and the disaster management advisory forum is functional.

"This shows that intervention does work. We applaud these two municipalities and we believe that they are well on their way to meaningful recovery. We applaud the cooperation and hard work that has led to the progress scored, and we wish all other municipalities well as they implement recovery plans drafted with the assistance of Cogta and the National Treasury nationally and provincially," said Mkhize.

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