The Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements has recommend a Section 139 intervention in the beleaguered Ditsobotla Local Municipality in the North West province.
The committee made the recommendation to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during a meeting on Monday.
The committee said it believes that there is clear evidence of exceptional circumstances to support this decision.
“Following its visit to the municipality on 29 September 2022, the committee was of the opinion that the challenges facing the municipality, which include financial mismanagement, inadequate service delivery and lapses in governance, were enough grounds to recommend the dissolution of the municipality.
“Our preoccupation has always been about ensuring that the people receive the best basic services and a dysfunctional municipality will not be able to ensure that. We must hasten to emphasise that if approved by the NCOP, this intervention should solely be focused on ensuring efficient service delivery to the people,” said China Dodovu, the committee chairperson.
The committee said the existence of two parallel municipal councils operating in the municipality, with two mayors, two speakers and two chief whips, was “another compelling reason for dissolution, as this makes it impossible to fulfil executive and legislative obligations, with the residents of the municipality bearing the full brunt of the impact of the dysfunction”.
Dodovu said another even greater concern for the committee is the existence of what appeares to be criminal elements within the municipality, which is the root of non-compliance with legislation and supply chain management policy.
“This has allowed corruption and malfeasance to flourish. The leadership squabbles between the offices of the mayor and the speaker exacerbated an already toxic environment, which has made it difficult for the municipality to discharge its constitutional obligations.”
The committee also questioned the appointment of skilled and qualified municipal officials who would ensure that functions are implemented with the highest professionalism and in compliance with the requirements of the National Development Plan to build a capable and developmental State. The committee therefore resolved that a skills audit is necessary to ascertain what skills are available within the municipality and which areas need augmentation.
Meanwhile, the committee also expressed concern to learn that the COGTA MEC had hired an administrator for the municipality, even though legal process has not been concluded.
“The steps taken by the MEC to appoint an administrator are not procedural and thus invalid, as the NCOP has not as yet taken a decision on the intervention. Only after adoption of this report can the MEC appoint administrators,” said Dodovu.
The committee is concerned that the MEC’s actions undermine the legal process and perpetuate the unfounded perception that the NCOP process is merely a formality. The committee has now resolved to invite the MEC to appear before the committee within the month, so she can give reasons for her actions.
The committee will table a report in the NCOP recommending the dissolution of Ditsobotla Local Municipality on Wednesday, 5 October 2022.