DURBAN - THE Msunduzi Municipality will remain under administration despite the resignation of the administrator Scelo Duma.
Duma’s resignation stunned opposition party councillors who feared it could mean the municipality was preparing to come out of administration.
The councillors said they were informed about the resignation during a council meeting on Tuesday. They said they were informed that he had resigned because the municipality was “ready to take its own decision”.
But the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said Duma’s resignation had no impact on the status of the municipality and that it would deploy a new administrator.
The municipality has been under administration for several years, and the intervention has been renewed several times.
It was placed under administration following its near collapse.
DA councillor Ross Strachan said they received the news of Duma’s resignations with disbelief.
“The letter highlighted reasons for his resignation. Among the reasons were that he believed the municipality was (now) ready to stand on its own two feet and ready to take its own decisions.
“The DA in Msunduzi believe that Mr Duma’s views are far from the truth in terms of the facts on the ground, and quite frankly the complete opposite in terms of the rapid deterioration of this city even under administration,” he said.
Strachan said residents were faced daily with “life-threatening” service-delivery failures such as prolonged electricity outages, lack of sufficient or no water supply, overgrown vegetation and pothole-ridden roads throughout the city.
Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said it was up to the provincial government to decide when the municipality was ready to govern itself without the intervention.
Thebolla, however, pointed out that a lot of issues that had led to the municipality being placed under administration had been and were being addressed.
“We believe that some of them have been attended too, while there are some outstanding, the only issue that remains outstanding is the financial viability of the municipality. We are not collecting as much as we should and we know the challenges that some people have lost their jobs,” he said.
Cogta spokesperson Senzo Mzila said the municipality remained under administration and the withdrawal of Duma did not affect the Cabinet resolution on this.
He said Cogta took note of positive contributions made at Msunduzi as a result of the interventions put in place which he said included proper management of a landfill site, domestic and commercial waste collection and filling of vacancies at senior management level.
“We also note that some of the problems are still going to take time in resolving and this includes escalation of debtors book, huge infrastructure backlogs, ageing infrastructure, traffic management, and non-compliance with by-laws. We believe that a conducive platform for the new ministerial representative has been created.
“Cogta is in a process of preparing for the introduction of the new Ministerial Representative,” said Mzila.