The Committee considered and adopted two sets of Oversight Reports, one in respect of their visit to Thabo Mafutsane District Municipality and the other in respect of their visit to Nala Local Municipality. Both Reports were adopted with substantial amendments made to the recommendations section of the Reports. It was agreed that there was a need to make sure that the Committee’s recommendations were implemented. With this in mind, Members supported the proposal that a recommendation should be made to the House to consider setting up a special unit to assist in monitoring the Committee’s recommendations.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that although they had initially planned to visit three municipalities they ended up visiting only two. The Committee could not visit the Matsulunyane Municipality due to the fact that the State of the Province address was being held concurrently with the oversight visits. In addition to Matsulunayne Municipality, there were two other outstanding municipalities from other provinces, one from Gauteng and the other from Mpumalanga.
Oversight Visit Report to Thabo Mafutsane District Municipality
The Chairperson tabled the Report for consideration.
Members adopted the contents of paragraphs 1-8 of the Report and then proceeded to consider paragraph 9 of the report which contained the recommendations.
Mr T Mofokeng (ANC, Free State) pointed out that paragraph 9.1.3 must be amended to give the effect of empowering the Committee to call the former Municipal Manager, and if possible with the MEC for local government to appear before it and clarify the municipality’s financial irregularities.
Mr D Bloem (COPE, Free State) agreed with Mr Mofokeng but reminded members that the Committee had requested the municipality to avail financial statements for scrutiny .He decried the fact that the request had not been complied with. The financial report that was presented to the visiting delegation was inadequate. Given this, the Committee should adopt a recommendation that an independent forensic investigation be carried out to verify the true financial status of the municipality.
The Chairperson suggested that amendments be effected to paragraph 9.1.3 to reflect this decision.
Mr Bloem expressed concern that the MEC may not implement the Committee’s recommendation given that he was the Mayor of the municipality during the period under review and suggested that the recommendation must instead give the Premier of the Province the mandate to appoint such an investigation team.
The Chairperson pointed out that in that case the Minister of Co-operative Governance would be in a better position to take up this mandate because he felt that the Committee had no powers to instruct the Premier to do so.
Members agreed on this amendment.
Mr Bloem suggested that recommendation 9.1.5. be amended to give it an effective date.
Members agreed to the amendment.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee must find ways of following up the implementation of its recommendations and suggested that a recommendation should be made to the House to consider setting up a special unit to assist in monitoring the Committee’s recommendations.
Mr Bloem suggested that such a unit must be composed of a representative from the Ministry, a representative from the National Council of Provinces and one representative from the Committee’s clerical staff.
Members agreed to have the recommendation amended accordingly
The Chairperson decried the lack of objectivity amongst members of the South African Local Government Association when conducting oversights visits to municipalities. He expressed a strong opinion that they were conflicted. The recommendation in paragraph 9.1.6 was however adopted without amendments.
The Chairperson also applauded the inclusion of recommendation 9.1.8 which was to the effect that the approved report should be shared with all the internal and external stakeholders of Thabo Mafutsane Municipality who the Committee Delegation interacted with during the oversight visit.
The Chairperson suggested that recommendation 9.1.10 was vague and that a manual that would contain the guidelines for implementation of such recommendations was needed to ensure clarity.
Mr Bloem referred to paragraph 6.6, and suggested that number of employees should be listed as 40 instead of 14 as indicated.
Members adopted the report with amendments.
Oversight Visit Report to Nala Local Municipality
The Chairperson tabled the Report for consideration.
Mr Bloem suggested that paragraph 6.6 be amended by substitution of 14 by 40. He further suggested the recommendation in paragraph 9.1.4 be reconstructed to instruct the administrator to immediately re-consider the current appointment of the municipal manager owing to serious allegations of corruption and maladministration against his office.
The Chairperson said that the recommendation should give the mandate to the MEC for local government instead.
Members agreed to both amendments but emphasised on the point that the recommendation must be amended to show the urgency of the matter.
Mr M Makhubela (COPE, North West) reminded the Committee to bear in mind that firing a municipal worker also had labour law implications.
Mr N Mfuku, Content Advisor, Committee Section, advised that the amended report would only become official when adopted by the National Council of Provinces.
Mr Bloem suggested that the Report should include a recommendation that the Municipality must become the complainant in the police case.
The Chairperson emphasised that the administrator was to make sure that that recommendation was implemented.
Mr Bloem suggested that a recommendation be made that the Minister should appoint a forensic investigation team to investigate the alleged existence of ghost companies in the tendering process.
The Chairperson rephrased the recommendation inclusive of the proposed amendments and the members adopted it.
Mr Mofokeng said that the interventions by the Committee at Nala Local Municipality had received a lot of media attention and suggested that the recommendation in paragraph 9.1.8. be amended to enable and empower the Chairperson to attend press conferences with some of the media houses to assure the public that something was being done to correct the situation.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mofokeng and emphasised on the need for the Committee to adopt an aggressive approach in seeking media publicity.
The report was adopted with amendments.
Mr Bloem asked if copies of the amended reports would be made available to Members for scrutiny.
Mr Moses Manele, Committee Secretary, replied that the amended copies of the reports were to be made available to Members later on.
The meeting was adjourned.
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