South Africa: Media Statement - Committee On Cogta Commends North West for Involvement of Traditional Leaders in Municipal Councils


The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) kick-started it's week-long oversight visit to the North West Province at the Rustenburg Civic Centre yesterday.

The committee had resolved to intensify its oversight role over all the organs of state in its mandate. It aims to use its mandate to confront the deteriorating state of local government in South Africa and to promote public participation in the sphere of local government according to Section 152 (1) (e) of the Constitution.

Furthermore, the committee aims to maximise its cooperation with traditional leaders to ensure that the institution of traditional leadership plays its meaningful role in the system of the South African state.

The North West visit follows the committee's recent virtual interactions with Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality and the municipalities under its jurisdiction. The committee also engaged with the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, as well as Madibeng and Matlosana Local Municipalities.

The visit also follows up on matters arising from previous engagements that required further engagements especially in the Ngaka Modiri Molema, Bojanala, and Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipalities. In its previous engagements with these district municipalities and their local municipalities, the committee noted that the state of financial management and service delivery performance in them very concerning.

The North West Province has been the most challenging province that the committee has encountered in its work so far. Placing of the province under administration according to Section 100 of the Constitution has not helped, as this has meant that it is not in the best position to provide the support expected of it according to Section 154 of the Constitution.

The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Faith Muthambi, said that as part of its oversight, the committee will be focusing on the neglected state of health services in all the municipalities in the country. She said the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year has glaringly exposed this challenge.

The committee heard from the North West's MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Mr Mmoloki Cwaile, that of the 22 municipalities in the province, 13 are under Section 139 (1) (b). Mr Cwaile also informed the committee that the province has had a total of 50 constitutional interventions although, however, none of them yielded positive results. The committee commended Mr Cwaile for his forthrightness.

The MEC for Provincial Treasury, Ms Motlalepula Rosho, told the committee that most of the budget offices in municipalities do not have accounting capacity and that is a huge challenge. She also said another challenge facing the municipalities is the wage bill which is more than the service delivery budget. The committee commended the province for involving traditional leaders in municipal councils.

The committee heard that there are two district municipalities without disaster management heads and that the communities in those districts are not aware about what they should do in the event of a disaster. The committee has called upon the department of COGTA to implement its awareness and education campaigns in the local communities.

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