Durban — The ANC national leadership has given the party's Kwazulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) 10 days to resolve governance issues in eThekwini or expect their marching orders from the national leadership.
Briefing the media about the outcomes of the almost week-long visit to the province to assess the organisational and governance challenges in the province, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party found there were governance challenges in eThekwini and in other municipalities in the province which needed urgent attention by the provincial leadership to resolve.
Mbalula said the national leadership would come back in two weeks to see the progress and if not satisfied, it would issue marching orders to the PEC.
“In our assessment we found organisational and governance challenges, so we told the province to resolve that. We will come back in two weeks for further engagement where we will give the marching orders,” said Mbalula.
On Thursday the party’s top brass descended on the province and National Working Committee (NWC) members were visiting all 12 regions, where they engaged regional and municipality leadership where the party governs, particularly in eThekwini.
The City appeared to be the main target of the NWC visit, with President Cyril Ramaphosa himself spending his entire visit conducting meetings with party councillors and regional leadership in the City. Prior to his visit, the president had partially stripped eThekwini of its powers of administration by invoking section 154 and deployed his former director-general, Dr Cassius Lubisi, to fix the City’s governance challenges.
According to local experts, section 154 is the first step towards placing the municipalities under section 139(b), which allows for the complete stripping of a municipality of its administrative powers and for it to be placed under the administrator. This usually means that the municipality’s executive committee and the municipal manager will have to get the approval of the administrator for any financial decision they take.
Among the challenges in eThekwini that have been widely reported was the failure to fix infrastructure which had caused the closure of beaches because of sewage spills.
On top of that, the City failed to spend R300 million which had to be returned to the Treasury.
The Auditor-General also noted that more than R1 billion was irregularly spent in the City.
The intervention by the national government flew in the face of mayor Mxolisi Kaunda’s State of the City Address, where he painted a picture suggesting all was on track.
At the centre of the governance issues is the legality of the city manager’s employment, which is one of the issues the PEC will have to deal with.
The provincial government had not picked up this issue until the Daily News exposé, which revealed that city manager Musa Mbhele did not disclose that there was a pending disciplinary action against him when he was employed in September last year.
Another issue the national leadership wanted the PEC to resolve immediately was the souring relations between Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and King Misuzulu, who complained to Mbalula about his shabby treatment by the province, particularly by Dube-Ncube.
Before being visited by Mbalula at the weekend, the king in his meeting with amakhosi in Ulundi had publicly rebuked the premier for treating him like a “small boy” who had to report to her any time he leaves his palaces.
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