The Amahtlathi Municipality building in Stutterheim was destroyed during protests . Picture: ANA

Port Elizabeth - The Eastern Cape executive council has given Cogta MEC, Fikile Xasa the go-ahead to take over the embattled Amahlathi Municipality.

According to the Premier’s spokesman, Sizwe Kupelo, a team of experts from the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs would be deployed to run the affairs of the troubled municipality which has been marred by protests and alleged corruption. 

During November last year, the ANC in the Eastern Cape fired embattled Amahlathi Municipality mayor Pateka Qaba following protests in Stutterheim.

Stutterheim is situated along the N6, which connects East London and Johannesburg. 

The protests began in mid-October last year when angry jobless youths took to the streets, accusing Amahtlathi local municipality officials of nepotism, selling jobs and offering jobs for sex. 

Protesters torched Amathole and Amahlathi municipality buildings and a clinic.

A damning Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report also reportedly uncovered maladministration, fraud and corruption within the municipality.

The SABC reported that the SIU found among others, alleged irregular expenditure of R92 million.

The report pointed towards high ranking ANC leaders at the regional level and officials working together to embezzle municipal funds.

Kupelo said a team was expected to arrive at the municipality before the end of this week.

Kupelo said the intervention would include taking over the administrative and financial affairs of the metro.

“They will assess the situation to establish contraventions that have led to the crisis situation which has also led to non-payment of creditors and staff salaries.

“The Department is expected to write to the National Minister, Provincial Legislature and the National Council of provinces about this intervention.”

Kupelo added that EXCO has since also resolved to send a team of officials to Makana Municipality which is facing a water and financial crisis.

“The team will monitor the current interventions by various spheres of government which include Amatola water and Department of Water and Sanitation.

"They will also assess financial needs of the Municipality to address the water crisis following a financial request by the Municipality.”

Kupelo said EXCO had also approved a R49 million funding to Eskom for the construction of Makhawula substation in Kwabhaca at Alfred Nzo District Municipality. 

African News Agency (ANA)