The Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – having concluded its assessment on whether communities would benefit from allowing provincial interventions into Madibeng, Ngaka Modiri Molema and Matlosana municipalities – will deliberate on the findings and aise the NCOP on whether or not this proposal should be acceded to.
“Our visit to these municipalities is as a result of a request the NCOP received from the North West MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements in March this year, where he asked for permission to invoke Section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution against these three municipalities,” said Committee Chairperson, Mr Jihad Mohapi.
The request to invoke Section 139 (1) (b) in Madibeng Local and Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipalities sought to specifically allow the provincial department of local government and human settlements to temporarily take over the provision of water and sanitation services of these municipalities. The MEC said the inability of these two municipalities to provide water and sanitation which resulted to fatal community protests could no longer be tolerated and as such the provincial government resolved to intervene through Section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution.
Matlosana Local Municipality experienced financial management challenges, like the inability of the municipality to recover debt totaling to R1, 1 billion, not paying its creditors on time and poor Supply Chain Management processes leading to tender irregularities. This municipality reported high vacancy rate, especially at senior management level.
MEC Maine said that he hoped the Committee would be acquiescent to his request in order for these municipalities to improve the manner these municipalities delivered services to the people of North West.
Committee Chairperson, Mr Mohapi, clarified that it was only the NCOP that had powers to approve or disapprove the invocation of Section 139 (1) (b). “As a Committee, we have been sent here gather information, distill it in our Committee meeting and aise the NCOP,” explained Mr Mohapi.
Over and above the reasons the MEC highlighted, Committee members urged all three municipalities to develop clear communication and public participation strategies in order to improve of public involvement in municipal affairs in order to ensure minimal protests.
The Committee also aised these municipalities to put in place plans for revenue enhancement, debt collection and debt repayment. Municipalities were also urged to improve labour relations by ensuring that they resuscitated Local Labour Forums to avoid unnecessary workplace tensions.
With all these three municipalities having had previous interventions, stakeholders such as organised labour, SALGA, political parties, business and representatives of youth and women formations to cautiously support the latest proposal to invoke Section 139 (1) (b).
Mr Mohapi encouraged various municipal councils, management and stakeholders to ensure that they settled their differences and worked together towards improving the level and quality of services people of North West received. “Whatever our differences might be, we always need to ensure that our people continue receiving the good quality service they deserve. Our people must not suffer because their leaders are in disagreement over one thing or the other,” he said.
The date on when the Committee’s report would be tabled for consideration before the NCOP will be announced in due course.
Source : Parliament of South Africa