uMkhanyakude’s fate is in the hands of the Cabinet, says MEC
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Durban - THE embattled uMkhanyakude Municipality could be dissolved next week, after it had been declared dysfunctional.
This was an indication from Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka during a media briefing yesterday.
The MEC called the briefing to provide a progress report on the troubled municipalities his department had to put under administration.
He said there were 10 municipalities placed under administration in the province. While he said there was improvement in some municipalities - which included, among others, Mooi Mpofana in Mooi River and uThukela in Ladysmith - he regretted that uMkhanyakude was still facing serious problems, despite sending an administrator earlier this year.
Hlomuka said he was in uMkhanyakude himself on Tuesday, when another council meeting collapsed. He had directed the administrator to provide him a report – with the number of council meetings that had collapsed – by next week, so that he would take it to the Cabinet for a decision.
Although he did not say what decision could be taken, he said there was the option of dissolving dysfunctional councils.
Troubled uMkhanyakude also came under fire from Cogta's portfolio committee in Parliament on Tuesday, where it declared it dysfunctional. Hlomuka said the issue of the R135 million that was incorrectly removed from the main account, has been corrected.
He also touched on the issue of a forensic report, which the IFP had demanded to be tabled. He said it was going to be tabled in the meeting that collapsed on Tuesday and promised it would finally be tabled by his department.
"We regret to report that nothing tangible has been done in uMkhanyakude, but the Cabinet would meet and take a decision before the end of next week. The political instability there was affecting service delivery, such as water provision, which the government would not allow because water is life."
Hlomuka said that Nquthu Municipality had regressed and received a disclaimer in the latest auditor-general's report, which was why it was placed under administration.
“Nquthu under administration still stands. The administrator had already started there.”
In Msunduzi, the MEC said the municipality and Eskom had agreed to work together to fix electrical problems, which plunged the city into darkness from Tuesday.
Protests in the Msunduzi Municipality, over electricity outages, erupted on Wednesday. A shop was set alight, after several protests brought the Pietermaritzburg CBD to a halt.
The protest broke out mostly in areas where illegal electricity connections were disconnected.
A group of protesters demanded free electricity, water, accommodation, and groceries.
The group blocked roads with rubble and domestic refuse. They also forced the closure of shops in the CBD.
Hlomuka said Msunduzi was also facing waste collection problems, but said new leadership, under new mayor Mzimkhulu Tebolla, was trying its best to deal with problems.
“The main problem in Msunduzi was that it did not have a manager for a long time, so we were forced to ask the manager who resigned to return, but things are getting back to normal. Also in Mooi Mpofana, which had been under administration for a long time, the problem was to find a replacement for the municipal manager and other senior directors, which we eventually did.”
In Abaqulusi Municipality, in Vryheid, the MEC said the official that transferred R3.5 million to her account had been dismissed and the money has been recovered.
Further, in Mtubatuba, where 15 managers who lied about their qualifications when they were hired, have also dismissed.
Hlomuka said some of the 10 municipalities had improved and would soon be taken out of administration.