File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA).

PIETERMARITZBURG - KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube has dismissed suggestions that political considerations had resulted in what many regard as a slow reaction in dealing with problems at Msunduzi Municipality. 

She was briefing the media on Tuesday following a behind the scenes meeting with councillors at a special sitting where it was announced that the municipality has been placed under administration. 

"We do not check as to which political party the municipality is governed by, we act when the need for an intervention arises," said the MEC.  

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been one of the staunchest critics of the MEC who they accused of shielding wrongdoing at the municipality in order to protect the African National Congress (ANC). 

"This  was not about me avoiding to shame the ANC. It is a shame when municipalities are not performing their duties," Dube-Ncube stressed.  

She admitted that the elections, which will be held in les than a month, could influence people to make a number of allegations in a politically-charged atmosphere.  

She said while the municipality had experienced a decline in revenue collection, it still had sufficient funds to meet its monthly obligations. The MEC said this was one of the reasons that government had opted against dissolving the entire council as has been done in some municipalities in the province. Some  of the reasons behind the intervention include:

- absentism from councillors which collapsed council meetings over the past months.

- failure to apply consequence management against officials who were responsible for irregular expenditure.  

- failure of councillors to carry out oversight over management

- failure by council to investigate allegations of malfeasance and maladministration against senior managers and other leaders of the municipality where necessary.

Aside from this, the MEC blamed poor record-keeping by officials resulting, for instance, in the municipality’s non-disclosure of pension and medical aid deductions.

She said service delivery related challenges besetting the city, particularly waste management, roads and street maintenance, as well as electricity services needed intervention. 

"The people of this province look up to Pietermaritzburg as an embodiment of a well performing, well-governed municipality.  It is our collective duty as National and Provincial Government to assist and ensure that it lives up to this expectation," said the MEC.

She said despite the problems she was confident that the arrival of an intervention team in the coming days, including the administrator, would enable the municipality to navigate its way out of the current problems.

African News Agency (ANA)