Committee reports on termination of intervention in municipalities and Committee programme

Share this page:

Meeting Summary

A content advisor reviewed three sets of report recommendations on municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

The Committee heard of the four municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal administered by the province. One was in a position to resume functioning independently, whilst the other three still needed intervention until the end of December. The report was adopted.

There was noticeable progress at the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality in Mpumalanga since the intervention. The report was adopted.

Members voiced unhappiness that a number of points they raised with regard to the Thabo Mofutsanyana municipality were omitted in their recommendations. The Committee agreed that the recommendations specify that the Department should urgently institute an investigation led by the Hawks. The report was adopted with corrections.

The Chairperson had received a confidential letter of complaint from Madibeng Local Municipality (Brits NW), alleging interference by the Member of the Executive Council in municipal affairs.


Meeting report

Introduction
The Chairperson said the Committee was not going to be long and invited a content advisor to lead the meeting on three sets of report recommendations that were made with regards to municipalities in KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

KwaZulu-Natal municipalities report
The Content Advisor said that a meeting with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was held on 24 October 2011. It was resolved that the province needed to intervene at Umhlabuyalingana, Indaka, Okhahlamba and Msunduzi. Although Umhlabuyalingana was in a position to resume functioning independently, the other three still needed intervention until the end of December.

He read the Committee's recommendations:

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) should approve the termination of intervention in Umhlabuyalingana Local Municipality.

 The NCOP should approve the extension of interventions in terms of Section 139 (1)(b) of the Constitution in Indaka, Okhahlamba and Msunduzi Local Municipalities. The interventions should extend for a period of six months, ending 31 December 2011.

That the KZN Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs should table the forensic investigation report to the NCOP, once it had been approved by the Msunduzi Municipal Council; and that the Committee, in collaboration with the KZN provincial legislature's portfolio committee, should conduct a joint follow-up visit to the respective municipalities during the first term of 2012/13 financial year to verify the extent of progress.

The report was adopted.

Thembisile Hani local municipality, Mpumalanga
The Content Advisor said that the province had come to Parliament to brief the Committee on the progress that was noticeable at the Thembisile Hani local municipality since the intervention.

The Committee’s recommendations were that:

The NCOP should approve the termination of intervention in Thembisile Hani local municipality.

A joint follow-up visit to the municipality, by the Committee and provincial legislature's portfolio committee should be conducted in the first term of 2012.

The report was adopted.

Thabo Mofutsanyana, Free State
The Content Advisor said the Committee had observed that Free State Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs had made progress in providing technical support to municipality. The had Committee also observed that the decision to terminate the intervention had received the support of the municipal council.

The recommendations were that:

The NCOP should approve the termination of intervention in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality

The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Free State, should institute a independent forensic investigation led by the Hawks to investigate irregularities on the collection of debts and professional services rendered on behalf of the District Municipality

The Department should table the forensic outcome of the investigation report to the NCOP, once completed by the Hawks

A joint follow-up visit by the Committee and Free State legislature's portfolio committee should be conducted in the first term of 2012/13

Discussion
Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) said that there was an omission in these recommendations. The Committee had recommended that the issue be investigated by both the Hawks and the Public Protector. It was agreed that because of the problems in the Free State the national Department needed to institute the investigations through the Hawks. He said it was also indicated that the Committee needed to approach the Public Protector to immediately investigate.

Mr D Bloem (COPE, Free State) said that it was emphasised that the investigation be taken by the national Department as corrupt tendencies could surface easily if the process were to be led by the province. He said that a seven day period, for these matters to be reported, after the item was adopted and tabled, should be agreed upon.

Mr D Joseph (DA, Western Cape) agreed and said the Committee needed to be provided with a progress report at its next meeting.

The Chairperson said he was concerned by the number of omissions from the recommendations. When Members adopted minutes, they needed not discuss again what they had already discussed, but address minor changes that were needed in reports. The management must improve on its ability to take minutes, so as to reflect what the Members said.

The recommendations on Thabo Mofutsanyana, Free State,needed to state clearly that the Hawks should investigate. There was a case and the Hawks needed to investigate, and the Department had to open a case. The words ‘independent forensic investigations’ implied that the Hawks needed to outsource this function and that was not the case. Forensic investigations were time consuming and expensive.

The Committee agreed that the recommendation needed to read:

The national department should institute an investigation led by the Hawks into irregularities on the collection of debt.

Members requested that the corrected report be forwarded to them so as to ensure everything was recorded as adopted.

The report was adopted with corrections.

Confidential letter of complaint
The Chairperson said he had received a confidential letter of complaint from the Executive Mayor of Madibeng Local Municipality (Britz, North West) alleging interference by the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) in municipal affairs. He did not read the letter in its entirety, but it indicated that the municipality was not being managed smoothly.

Mr Matila said there had been complaints about the MEC not attending meetings of that municipality despite being invited. Workers were inexplicably suspended by the municipality; there definitely were challenges.

Mr Joseph wanted to know if the Committee could mandate the Chairperson to act with immediacy and contact the MEC and Municipality to get the finer details. This needed not be dragged into next year, but should be acted upon in the next seven days.

Mr Bloem disagreed, and said the MEC should not be contacted as that would cause tension and lead to vilification. The Committee needed to deal with the letter.

The Chairperson suggested that the letter be forwarded to Advocate P Nel and Mr M  Mahlangu  (ANC, Limpopo), Chairperson, NCOP, for advice on how to tackle the matter. The letter would also be forwarded to the Minister. Sending a copy of the correspondence to the Minister was an executive obligation as the letter was supposed to be directed to the ministry in the first place. If the Minister did not get involved sooner, the municipality might end up being dissolved.

The Committee agreed to obtain advice by the following week.

Committee programme
The Committee adopted its programme for the first term of 2012/13.

The meeting was adjourned.



Documents

No related documents

Present

  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Share this page: