Pretoria - The Cabinet has welcomed the decision of the Free State provincial executive, to place the Mangaung Metropolitan Council under administration following a series of violent protests prior and post last year’s November 1 elections.
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the Cabinet approved the intervention in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, read together with Section 150 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act 56 of 2003), in the Mangaung Metropolitan and Enoch Mgijima Local municipalities. Both municipalities have been experiencing significant financial and service delivery failures for a prolonged period.
The Free State Provincial Executive placed the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality under a mandatory intervention in terms of Section 139(5) (a) and (c) of the Constitution in December 2019.
A mandatory financial recovery plan was subsequently imposed on the municipality in 2020. After failing for more than two years to implement the financial recovery plan during the provincial intervention, the metro has now been placed under a national intervention in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution.
The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality was also placed under mandatory intervention by the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive in terms of Section 139(5) (a) of the Constitution in 2018. However, after the municipality failed to make progress in improving its financial and service delivery performance, Cabinet decided to place it under a national intervention.
Gungubele said the invocation of a national intervention in terms of Section 139(7) of the Constitution implies that in both municipalities, national government would now act instead of the provincial executive.
“This type of intervention is mandatory and follows the same procedure as Section 139(5) of the Constitution, except that national government will now directly assume responsibility for these interventions,” he said.
Gungubele said to give effect to the assumption of responsibility, National Cabinet Representatives (NCR) would shortly be deployed to both municipalities.
“The minister of finance will delegate powers to the NCR and will also be supported by a multidisciplinary team of experts. No decision has yet been taken to dissolve the municipal council in terms of Section 139(5)(b) of the Constitution.
“The national intervention will take effect upon formal gazetting in the Government Gazette, however, the current Section 139(5) intervention will remain in effect until this date.
“The Section 139(1) intervention into the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality will also be replaced by a Section 139 (5) (a) and (c) intervention, which will also cover the failure of the municipality to fulfil its executive obligations,” Gungubele said.
He said he together with the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – will hold a media briefing next week to outline the national intervention.