File photo: ANA.

RUSTENBURG - The Ditsobotla local municipality has blasted the office of the premier in North West over claims that the municipality ignored administrative intervention.

"Ditsobotla local municipality refutes the assertions by the Office of the Premier that the municipality deliberately ignores the intervention and dismisses them as devoid of truth in all forms," said municipality spokesman Pius Batsile.

The municipality was placed under section 139 (1) (b) in September 2018.

"The municipal council welcomed the intervention in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the constitution to an extent provable through a council resolution and the incumbent administrator without a intervention team at its special sitting held on the 1st October 2018.

"The municipality is amazed by the media reports from the office of the premier on the gross allegations that are unfounded because the premier has never engaged the municipality or its leadership," he said.

The office of the premier issued a statement on Tuesday that the South African Civic Organisation (Sanco) and various other civil society groups had requested to meet with Premier Job Mokgoro to discuss the current status of the implementation of the Section 139(1)(b) intervention in Ditsobotla.

In that meeting it was brought to Mokgoro’s attention that the municipality has allegedly barred the administrator, Eric Matlawe, from entering the municipal premises and executing his duties, and also that the municipality has appointed a municipal manager without the consent and participation of Matlawe and that the municipality was deliberately ignoring the implementation of Section 139(1)(b) intervention.

Mokgoro then ordered the review and setting aside of any decision taken by council, in the absence of the administrator, with immediate effect, as those decisions were legally regarded as irregular and this applies to Monday’s appointment of the municipal manager by council  as well as any financial commitments made by the council or the municipal manager.

The council at its special meeting in June resolved that it would asked Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs MEC Gordon Kegakilwe to withdraw Matlawe as an administrator and that he be replaced for the remainder of the period of intervention.

This followed violent protests at the municipality that resulted in workers not reporting for work, citing safety issues and that they wanted Matlawe to be withdrawn as the administrator.

"The municipality noted with great concern also the allegation that the incumbent administrator has been barred from entering municipal premises. This allegation is untrue and divisive in its nature. The incumbent has full access and always had access to municipal premises. We have allocated  an office to him.

"Whilst acknowledging the premier’s interaction with stakeholders, municipality believes that the assertions are premature, impulsive and biased and to certain extent not in good spirit in terms of intergovernmental relations," Batsile said.

"Worryingly, on the council meeting held on the 1st July 2019 the council did not only appoint the municipal manager but also resolved to enter into payment agreement with Eskom so that community can continue getting power, something that the intervention has done literally nothing about. The Eskom account is skyrocketing in excess of R430 million, leaving our communities vulnerable to power cut anytime in the whole of Ditsobotla," he said.

Mokgoro and Kegakilwe are expected to meet the council on Thursday to further engagement regarding the Section 139(1)(b) intervention.

African News Agency (ANA)