The Committee briefly discussed the Reports on the interventions for Moses Kotane Local Municipality, the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality and the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality.
Members were concerned that the reports were too vague and needed to include details concerning issues with Municipal Development Agencies, lack of accountability of funds given to municipalities, financial and fraudulent activities in municipalities, and political infighting. These observations had to be included in the reports as they were the essence of the visits.
The Committee adopted all three reports with the provision that the issues that had been raised would be included.
Members also discussed the matter concerning the Municipal Manager, Mr David Shongwe of the Nala Local Municipality. The House had resolved the he would be suspended with immediate effect; however, he still seemed to be working there. The Committee decided to approach the MEC of the Free State to resolve the matter.
Mr A Watson (DA, Mpumalanga) noted that all three reports seemed to be the same, except for the names on the reports. He wondered if the task teams that compiled the reports could highlight the main points that were contained in each report. This would enlighten the Members that were not in the task team. He did not know if this request was out of order.
The Chairperson replied that the suggestion was out of order.
Report on Interventions in the Moses Kotane, Thembisile Hani, and Sundays River Valley Local Municipalities
The Chairperson briefly highlighted that the main controversial issue for all three municipalities was the Municipal Development Agencies. Funds amounting to R24.6 billion had been allocated to agencies, no results had been seen, and the money had not been accounted for. There were financial and fraudulent activities occurring amongst councillors within some municipalities. The unions were a form of catalyst to the degradation of municipal performance, as they provided no worker platform to assist in worker issues. Delivery had to be crucial amongst all the financial and fraudulent activities occurring within municipalities.
Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) added that nepotism was also a serious matter than needed to be looked at. There were a number of people, such as family members, that were employed in positions that they were not qualified for. This matter needed to be attended to urgently, as strict disciplinary actions were not being enforced.
The Chairperson added that bringing in an Ad Hoc would help in investigating issues of such magnitude.
Mr I Gunda (ID, Northern Cape) stated that the points that the Chairperson raised needed to be emphasised so as to avoid mitigating important issues that needed to be addressed. The Committee could not accept those kinds of challenges. The issues needed to be emphasised in the Report so that people could see what was happening.
Mr J Bekker (DA, Western Cape) added that political infighting was the cause of the problems in municipalities. The Committee had to express its concerns to all the political parties and tell them to discipline their councilors.
A Member agreed with Mr Bekker, saying that, lately, all the Committee saw in municipalities was interference and political infighting.
The Chairperson replied that all the Members recommendations would be taken on board.
Mr Watson interrupted the Chairperson and suggested the report be adopted, as many of the Members had to leave the meeting.
Mr D Bloem (COPE, Free State) suggested that all three of the reports should be tabled. If there was a problem with any one of the three reports, then Members had to raise their concerns at this meeting. He did not have any concerns about any of the reports. He proposed that Members adopt the reports as they were.
Mr Watson added that he would second Mr Bloem’s motion provided that the observations and recommendations that were voiced in the meeting be included in the report as the main problems. The observations had to be included as they were the essence of the visits.
A Member asked the Committee to address page 3, Section 6.6 and 6.7 of the Moses Kotane Local Municipality Report. The points raised concerns about Moses Kotane, the role of municipalities, and issues highlighted by the Chairperson earlier in the meeting.
Mr Matila pointed out that in the Moses Kotane case; the Premier of the province had to show quarterly progress reports to the NCOP and the MEC of Local Government. He stated that there were three people that were arrested because they were involved in fraudulent activities. This had to be addressed urgently.
Mr B Nesi (ANC, Eastern Cape) emphasised that each and every detail of the discussion of the reports did not have to be explained in the report. However, the discussion had to be recorded in detail in the minutes for the meeting. He suggested that the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) should also start having executive training that would enable them to run municipalities the way that they should be run. He questioned the notion of having councillors in these positions and whether they received the proper training, as they still seemed to be incompetent in their respective duties.
The Chairperson said that local government, in some areas, lacked the capacity for delivering adequate services to their communities.
Mr Watson proposed that the Committee adopt the reports, as the Members seemed to be talking in circles.
Mr Gunda seconded the adoption.
Mr Watson added that it was important to think about what would emanate from the oversight visits and the reports. He did not remember one report coming back to the Committee with resolutions from the House. If the Committee adopted the report with recommendations, it became a resolution of the House. He did not remember receiving any quarterly reports from entities that the Committee performed oversight on. This resolution had to be enforced.
Mr Bloem agreed. He used an example of an MEC of the Free State. The Committee adopted a resolution that was passed in the House that the Municipal Manager, Mr David Shongwe of Nala Local Municipality, had to be suspended with immediate effect. Mr Shongwe was still working at Nala Municipality at the moment. This was not right, as it felt as if the municipalities were just playing around with tax-payers money.
Mr Matila replied that this issue needed to be followed up. The MEC had told the Committee that Mr Shongwe no longer worked there. A letter had to be written to the MEC to determine what the truth was.
Mr Gunda agreed with his fellow members and stressed that the magnitude of this issue undermined the role that the Committee played.
Mr Bloem suggested that the Chairperson interact with the MEC directly. He said that the Chairperson should call the MEC to tell him that the matter had been discussed by the Committee and Members were unhappy that he was undermining Parliament. The Member also supported the suggestion that a formal letter should be written to the MEC.
The Chairperson stated that once the House adopted the reports, the Chairperson of the House was required to communicate with the policy. This was the procedure. Formal complaints had to be handled by Parliament. The Committee could not violate the rules of Parliament.
The Chairperson noted that the reports were adopted with provision that the issues discussed in the meeting would be included in the reports.
The meeting was adjourned.
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