Cogta slated for its lack of support
Durban – THE KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department’s (Cogta) support of troubled municipalities does not inspire confidence, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) said yesterday.
Scopa has given a damning view of how Cogta’s slow pace of turning things around at some of the province’s municipalities, where mismanagement of monies has run into billions of rand.
The committee expressed this view after its oversight visit at troubled local and district municipalities around the province during the weekend.
“According to the committee, there are curative legislative prescripts that are offered by the Constitution and the Municipal Systems Act to remedy some of the challenges faced by the municipalities which the provincial department of Cogta has ignored.
“That ignorance, the committee said, deepens the challenges faced by the municipalities,” Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.
The committee was concerned that uMkhanyakude District had not had an ordinary council meeting since March this year, which went against the law as there should have been one council sitting every quarter. The council had not even dealt with the unauthorised, irregular, wasteful and fruitless (UIWF) expenditure that was pointed out by investigation reports.
“To date, the municipality has UIWF expenditure of R2.7 billion, the second highest in the province, and is among the top 10 municipalities in the country. The committee attributes the municipality’s crisis partly to negligence on the part of the provincial department of Cogta,” Scopa said.
It said the committee resolved that the council of the municipality must sit within the next two weeks to deal with all outstanding matters of UIWF expenditure and other matters. It also took a dim view of MEC Sipho Hlomuka’s alleged lack of accountability by not attending meetings.
“The committee raised its unhappiness on non-attendance of its meetings by the provincial government’s MEC for Cogta, Mr Sipho Hlomuka. The committee remains of the view that resolutions of challenges facing the municipalities require co-operation from all spheres of government.”
IFP spokesperson on Cogta, Otto Kunene, said KZN municipalities were in a crisis. He pointed to how municipalities like Msunduzi and Umgeni were in shambles and struggled to provide basic services.
“The state of municipalities in KZN leaves a lot to be desired,” he said.
Kunene said he was happy that Scopa had become aware of the problems faced by municipalities in KZN.
He said they also took issue with Hlomuka, who did not appear before the Scopa meeting. “He has set a bad example,” Kunene said.
KZN Cogta spokesperson Senzo Mzila said Cogta had made representations to the committee and had no desire to respond to the comments made by Scopa through the media.