PILES of rubbish lie on the streets of the provincial capital. 
 Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
DURBAN - The provincial government is “nursing” hopes that the Msunduzi municipality will be out of administration and on the path to metro status within the next three years.

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala said the municipality would like to become a metro after the 2021 local government elections.

Zikalala addressed the business community at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Monday night following the decision to place the municipality under administration two weeks ago.

“If this municipality is to become a metro after the 2021 local government elections, things must change administratively,” he said.

Zikalala announced key interventions aimed at rescuing the city.

“We are not sending just one person, the administrator. We are sending a team of people. It will be the administrator, a finance person and a corporate services person. All these should be coming to the council in about a week.”

He said they would also be setting up a political task team that would be led by different government departments that would also oversee the municipality. Zikalala said the poor state of the municipality led it to being ignored by investors and left it lagging behind other cities.

“We cannot allow for this strategic city to continue to lag behind.”

Zikalala said the decision to place the municipality under administration had followed several interventions to rescue the municipality dating back to late last year. He said that despite this, it became clear that the provincial government was too late and the city had collapsed both politically and administratively.

“We want to apologise to the people of Msunduzi, as the ANC we did not expect such leadership that could lead to the total collapse of the municipality,” he said.

The Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business described the situation in Msunduzi as beyond frustrating.

They said even the most basic things like maintaining street lights and cutting verges were not done.

Local government expert Michael Sutcliffe said despite Msunduzi being under administration, it could still apply to become a metro. He added that the council’s current situation was due to management problems but that was not an indication of their overall ability to govern.