Cogta implements Section 154 to intervene in troubled eThekwini municipality

Cogta implements Section 154 to address service delivery logjams in eThekwini municipality. File Picture: Zanele Zulu/Independent Newspapers

Cogta implements Section 154 to address service delivery logjams in eThekwini municipality. File Picture: Zanele Zulu/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 27, 2024


The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has appointed Dr. Cassius Lubisi, former director-general in the Presidency, and Michael Sutcliffe, former municipal manager of Durban, to lead the Section 154 intervention aimed at addressing service delivery challenges in the eThekwini municipality.

The announcement was made on Thursday by Cogta MEC Reverend Thulaswizwe Buthelezo.

Sutcliffe and Lubisi, who own a consulting company, were initially nominated in 2023 when the African National Congress (ANC)-led local government announced plans to implement Section 154 to intervene in the struggling municipality.

However, the intervention was blocked on the day it was supposed to be introduced after ANC councillors complained that proper due process had not been followed.

Section 154 refers to the enlisting of experts to assist the municipality in areas where there are concerns.

If the municipality does not change its direction, it may face consequences, such as being placed under administration through the implementation of Section 139.

Section 139 states that if a municipality fails to fulfil its executive obligations as per the constitution, the provincial executive may intervene by taking appropriate steps to ensure compliance. These steps can include dissolving the entire municipal council and appointing an administrator, but only if exceptional circumstances justify such action.

The municipality has been marred by a myriad of administration failures, ranging from fraud allegations, a series of questions around service delivery, corruption and fraud cases, among other issues.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini has welcomed the long-overdue announcement of a Section 154 intervention.

“eThekwini has been on a constant downward spiral which includes sporadic services, out-of-control debt, water supply and sewage issues which have come at the expense of frustrated citizens and ratepayers.

“The announced Section 154 intervention means going forward, provincial government will have a say as well as provide assistance in the running of the once prestigious eThekwini municipality,” said DA spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Steve Bhengu.

Bhengu said the DA still believes that a Section 139 intervention is required considering the extent to which eThekwini has broken down.

He added that the party was optimistic that under the leadership of Sutcliff and Dr Lubisi, eThekwini will be on the path to recovery.

“The intervention marks a promising start by the government of provincial unity, with the DA playing a pivotal role,” he added.