Johannesburg - Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha refuses to sign the agreement with cabinet ministers to end the Section 100(1)(b) national intervention in his province.
Two sources with knowledge of the deadlock said Mathabatha was unhappy with clauses in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that allow ministers to continue wielding executive powers in two provincial departments.
Mathabatha is said to be unimpressed that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi will retain their prerogative to appoint executive personnel such as hospital chief executives and other top bureaucrats.
The privilege of appointing the chief executive of Roads Agency Limpopo, a provincial entity with a R1.2 billion budget, also lies with the public works minister.
Mathabatha’s refusal to sign the MOU appears to have put in limbo the “conditional handover of the provincial administration” by the national executive back to the province.
Last month, the inter-ministerial committee led by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced at a media briefing in Polokwane the termination of the Section 100(1)(b) intervention.
The national government announced its exit from the province after running, through the national intervention team, five key provincial departments that were placed under administration in December 2011.
Nene told journalists that the direct intervention would be converted to a laissez-faire type of intervention in terms of Section 100(1)(a), pending the signing of the MOU.
“This means that the MECs of the affected provincial departments will assume full executive powers to run the departments, and the accounting officer role will revert back to (heads) of the respective departments,” he said.
In terms of the constitution, the new form of intervention empowers the national executive to issue directives to the struggling province and to state steps required to meet its obligations.
Nene said the inter-ministerial committee would exercise an oversight role and that the cabinet had given the provincial executive conditions to meet before a total withdrawal.
“In this regard, the national executive authority will define the measures that the province will need to take to address identified areas of failure, and will monitor the province’s progress,” Nene added.
He said this was aimed at helping the province not to relapse into another financial predicament.
Speaking at the same media briefing, Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane said that “because of Section 100(1)(a), we will be interested to see” how personnel in strategic positions will be appointed.
But this did not sit well with Mathabatha, a source said.
“If you do that, then what do you mean when you say MECs and heads of department will assume full executive powers?” a source asked.
The provincial government spokesman, Phuti Seloba, refused to comment on the matter, while National Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane referred The Star to the statement made by Nene in Polokwane last month.