NCOP receives flak for approving Tswaing council dissolution
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Cape Town - The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) came in for some flak for giving the go-ahead to dissolve the ANC-led Tswaing Local Municipality at a special sitting on Wednesday.
The official opposition was the lone voice in criticising the council’s dissolution just three weeks before the local government elections.
This comes as delegates from eight ANC-led provinces voted in favour of the report of the select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water, sanitation and human settlement.
The North West government dissolved the municipality with immediate effect on September 22 citing a litany of wrong-doing in the troubled council.
DA MP Cathlene Labuschagne slammed the intervention as “too little too late” due to the very unprecedented time for adequate time of engagement.
“It is evident that this (intervention) will not serve its purpose … as there is no guarantee that the three-week dissolution will be successful,” Labuschagne said.
She also added that the rush by the NCOP to certify the council’s dissolution, considering three failed interventions from 2011 to 2019 and consistent replacement of administrators raised, concerns about the value of support given to municipalities by provincial and national governments.
“To dissolve the council will not contribute to political instability and good governance after the local government elections as it clearly indicates short-sightedness,” she said.
In his report to the NCOP, committee chairperson China Dodovu said some of the reasons for the council to be dissolved included instability due to votes of no confidence for two mayors, two speakers and two municipal managers.
Dodovu further maintained that the municipality implemented an unfunded budget and its total creditors totalled R354 million as at June 2021.
Eskom was owed R54m and other creditors R159m while failure to implement credit control and collect household debtors led to R282m debt.
There was also inability to pay third party transactions such as pensions fund’s and medical aids of employees.
Dodovu stated that there was collapse of service delivery and general poor maintenance of operational infrastructure, among others.
However, his report stated that among the municipality’s stakeholders only the ANC Youth League and Samwu supported the intervention while the DA, ANC, EFF, Freedom Front Plus, Independent Municipal Allied Trade Union, Tswaing Business Chamber and Salga rejected it.
According to Dodovu, they noted with concern the collapse of service delivery, instability of good governance, political infightings within the ANC, lack of portfolio of evidence on support provided in terms of section 154 of the constitution and lack of consequence management within the administration, among others.
But, Labuschagne said the NCOP should ensure that the support to municipalities was implemented effectively at the earliest time and that parties ensured that their councillors were disciplined and well-educated in local government matters.
“What we have now is a provincial government avoiding their constitutional role, rushing to do what they see as quick-fix or muscle flex.
“The NCOP has a role to investigate whether any interventions are justified and in accordance with the spirit of the constitution and cooperative governance,” she said.
But, ANC’s Mohammed Dangor appealed to MPS to support the intervention that was dealing with a dysfunctional municipality that endured a series of motions of no confidence.
“To argue to do nothing other than criticising is irresponsible. To do so will be letting down the community meant to be served by the municipality,” Dangor said.
His colleague Nomgqibelo Ethel Nkosi said the intervention sought to address persistent challenges of governance and administration, financial management which continued to engulf the municipality.
“The situation is precarious and any further delay will result in further challenges after November 1,” Nkosi said.