Damning report paints bleak picture on state of eThekwini Municipality
The state of local government report, which the Daily News has seen, was compiled by KwaZulu-Natal’s Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department after a comprehensive assessment of all provincial municipalities.
Areas of sanitation in greater Durban (with 213 spillages a day) and housing (with a backlog of 385 000) were the most concerning.
According to the report, business forums and political interference in administrative decisions negatively affected service delivery.
“Project implementation is compromised by delays in procurement processes, decision-making, poor project management and oversight,” it said.
“In opposition-led wards councillors are not fully engaged on projects and contractors report to proportional representation councillors. Allegations of fraud and corruption are evident.
“Debate and discussion in council is stifled and frustrates decision-making processes as well as compromising transparency,” read the report.
According to the report, the sanitation backlog in eThekwini was high, with 213 spillages a day.
On housing, the municipality has a backlog of 385000 houses and 67756 transfers of title deeds to the rightful owners.
The report was compiled based on information provided by the eThekwini Municipality in the form of audited annual financial statements, the Auditor- General’s report, other supporting evidence and information from interviews with executive council (exco) members and city officials.
The assessment was undertaken at all 54 municipalities in the province focusing on 2018 and 2019.
Mdu Nkosi, an IFP councillor in exco, said the report was accurate, and that he hoped there would be no political interference at Cogta in ensuring that corrective measures were implemented.
“These ANC internal squabbles are hurting the poor. Most areas within the municipality are affected,” Nkosi said.
He added that the municipality had ignored inspections of infrastructure, hence the sewage spillages.
The DA said the ANC in eThekwini was more worried about itself than about general governance.
Nicole Graham, the party’s caucus leader in eThekwini, said: “We have seen basic services being politicised. We have seen contracts awarded not to who can do the work effectively, but to who can benefit the ANC.
“That’s obviously what we see with Durban Solid Waste, and it’s becoming more and more commonplace in the city,” Graham said.
She said: “Obviously there are tensions within the ANC. If they (ANC) disagree among themselves they’ll postpone items, or the functionality of the exco will come second to the ANCs internal politics. The ANC is more worried about itself than governance.”
ANC chief whip in eThekwini Nelly Nyanisa did not reply to a message asking for comment.
Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said MEC Sipho Hlomuka would comment broadly on the matter during his local government budget speech next week.