Rampant corruption in municipalities remain major cause for concern
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The rampant corruption and maladministration in municipalities across the country remain a major cause for concern, and something needs to be done to stop the rot.
Every now and then, we witness shocking incidents and allegations levelled against those tasked with the management of these institutions. More shocking is the fact that municipalities are the sphere of government closest to the people on the ground.
The spate of fraud, corruption, maladministration, theft, infighting and, lately, alleged involvement in political killings against those tasked with leading the institutions, threatens South Africa’s developmental agenda.
A recent Independent Media news report looked at how a certain district mayor was allegedly part of a bid process that hired additional bodyguards, which exceeded the budget, and donated money to an oil company. He also allegedly interfered with the municipality’s administrative duties.
In Umkhanyakude the IFP and ANC have been squabbling since the beginning of the year. The IFP snatched control of the municipality and appointed Tim Moodley as mayor in March after the ANC boycotted a council meeting. The ANC has been trying to take it back through various motions that have been unsuccessful. This has severely affected service delivery.
In eMadlangeni in Dannhauser, the ANC had fought internally over who should be appointed speaker.
The Alfred Duma Municipality mayor in Ladysmith, Vincent Madlala, was recently arrested, together with his three sons, for their alleged involvement in politically related killings.
Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba recently appeared in court on charges of theft, assault and malicious damage to property.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Under Chapter 7 of the Constitution, a municipality has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the local government affairs of its community, subject to national and provincial legislation, as provided for in the Constitution.
There should be major repercussions for those who fail to fulfil their constitutional obligations. Especially for those entrusted with leading the interests of the poor.