Kannaland in hot water for unlawful transactions
Cape Town – The Western Cape government has taken the Kannaland municipal council to court, charging that it ignored the advice of national and provincial treasury who said the municipality had not followed due processes in securing municipal services.
The court action was taken as the municipality continued making attempts to push through a raft of new “political” staff appointments as well as other potentially prejudicial and unlawful transactions including a contract that would bind the municipality for 25 years, costing about R735 million, according to MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.
While the municipality did not respond to the allegations yesterday, Bredell said the action was necessitated to prevent the Kannaland Municipality from incurring massive liabilities that it could not afford.
“There are ongoing efforts to push through a contract with a private entity for the provision of electricity and water services and infrastructure at a cost of hundreds of millions of rand that would bind the Municipality for more than 25 years. It appears that the project will come at a cost of R735 million which is clearly not affordable when the municipality’s entire available operating budget for 2020/21 is R174 million,” said Bredell.
He claimed the appointment of political staff in the offices of the Speaker and mayor, including an office manager, a driver, a clerk, a “political support” officer and “support staff” was particularly reprehensible for a small municipality in a financial crisis struggling to deliver services to the community and dealing with the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The municipality is currently controlled by an ANC and Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa coalition after being under the DA and ANC coalition for about four years.
The towns of Ladismith, Zoar, Vanwyksdorp and Calitzdorp fall under the municipality that is in the Central Karoo. In 2017 a provincial intervention was undertaken in Kannaland following a request from the council at the time.
“The latest conduct of the municipality is not only unlawful, it also undermines the hard-won gains made by the Provincial Government in respect of improving the Municipality’s financial stability and sustainability since 2017,” said Bredell.