Two KZN municipalities put under administration
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DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has placed the Umkhanyakude District Municipality and the Nquthu Local Municipality under administration, in a move it says, to prevent the collapse of governance in the two councils.
The decision was made at the first meeting of the Provincial Executive Council of the year where the provincial leadership also made other changes including new appointments at the Department of Social Development and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
In a statement, provincial government spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said that the decision to place the two municipalities under administration was intended to end the paralysis, prevent the collapse of governance and usher in an era of service to the people first, while also restoring stability and order to these municipalities.
Mabaso said that the two municipalities were in flagrant disregard of the Constitution and the law governing the functioning of municipalities.
“These drastic interventions by the provincial government are taken in the best interest of the people of both uMkhanyakude and Nquthu. These interventions have been preceded by various efforts to support the municipalities in line with section 154 of the Constitution,” Mabaso said.
He said that among the reasons Umkhanyakude was placed under administration was that it had been embroiled in internal strife which severely compromised key areas of service delivery.
There were also allegations and counter-allegations of maladministration, fraud and corruption and the tensions have escalated to a point where the uMkhanyakude District Municipality could not pass the IDP and Budget, said Mabaso.
“The council has failed to hold three consecutive scheduled meetings to consider matters that affect the functioning of the municipality and service delivery.
“There is a serious challenge with performing executive functions and oversight. Municipalities will not be allowed to deteriorate under the watch of this 6th administration,” Mabaso said.
In the case of the Nquthu Municipality, Mabaso said that the municipality had also failed to investigate unauthorized, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure while the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) was dysfunctional.
He added that it was among the 12 municipalities which had been flagged as distressed despite interventions implemented in line with the Municipal Support Plans.
“There has been instability in the municipality since March 2020 when the municipal council purported to elect the mayor following the resignation of the former mayor.
“As a result, the municipality failed to comply with the requirements of the Municipal Systems Act related to the development and approval of the Integrated Development Plan and Budget Process Plan which must be adopted on or before August 31annually,” Mabaso said.
He added that the municipality subsequently adopted this plan albeit after the prescribed time frame.
Meanwhile, the mayor of the municipality had been unlawfully elected in violation of the lockdown regulations.
“The failure of the council meetings owing to instability resulted in the municipality’s failure to adopt its IDP and Budget Process Plan for the year 2021/22, hence compromising a key executive responsibility and prejudicing the people of Nquthu,” Mabaso.
The provincial government also endorsed the appointment of Simiso Magagula, former provincial Treasury department head as the accounting authority at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
“Mr Magagula brings with him a wealth of experience which will bring stability to the public entity. He has been appointed to the position for a period of 12 months,” Mabaso said.
Maphile Mhlongo’s appointment as the deputy director-general responsible for social services was also approved by the executive council.
“The approval is subject to the verification of qualifications and relevant clearances. The executive council wishes those appointed well in their new responsibilities,” Mabaso added.