Ricardo Mthembu, the new spokesperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Nata and ANC KZN secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli (right) speaking during a press conference at provincial headquarters in Durban on Tuesday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban -The removal of the ANC’s eThekwini and Msunduzi executive council members was the beginning of a “total clean-up” of all the municipalities run by the party, the ANC said on Tuesday. 

This was after its provincial leadership announced the “redeployment” with immediate effect of its members serving on the two municipalities’ executive committees.

ANC provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said the party had sent teams to assess the state of their municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, starting with Msunduzi and eThekwini, following community concerns about the state of service delivery in some municipalities.

The assessment, he said, was informed by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs’s “State of Local Government” report presented to the individual municipalities last month.

The report on eThekwini was damning, revealing that tensions within the ANC, as well as political interference had compromised service delivery.

“We received the Cogta reports on the municipalities. They informed the decision to do our own assessment, and the contents were confirmed. We started intervening in the two, because they have the worst challenges.

“This is an ongoing exercise to restore order and accountability in our municipalities. We will make interventions in other ANC-run provincial municipalities, and we will make our pronouncement when the interventions are under way,” Mthembu said.

During their assessment, the inability to run a reliable and effective billing system was among the concerns raised.

Mthembu said the assessments were carried out by the party’s provincial working committee (PWC) over a week.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said there was little doubt that eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede had left a legacy of “defective services, wastage, poor management and aberrant leadership”.

Outa’s provincial manager Tim Tyrrell said removing the exco members should have occurred much earlier.

“The Cogta report provides damning evidence against the city’s leadership under Gumede’s watch, noting political infighting, political interference in the administration, fraud and corruption, the lack of financial oversight and poor project management, all leading to failures in service delivery.

“Based on this report alone, Gumede and those who surrounded her should never again be allowed to hold public office,” he added.

Tyrrell said the problems faced by Msunduzi municipality were multi-faceted and run deep throughout the organisational structure.

“However, a change in political leadership is a strong message implying there is a will to turn the city’s fortunes around. For too long, Msunduzi has been ripped apart by factional politics and rampant corruption. It is hoped the new leadership will put the city and its residents first,” he said.

Outa called for action throughout the dysfunctional municipalities that the ANC controls countrywide.

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